More than 3,300 citations issued in first month of red light camera program

Even after a 30-day warning period was put into effect, more than 3,300 drivers ran red lights at five major intersections in Greenville and received citations during the first month of Greenville’s red light camera program.

“The number of violations just in the first month alone really emphasizes the need for the program in Greenville,” Greenville Police Department spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said. “As we are just past the first month of being in full operation, we have not seen a significant decrease in red light violations … however we hope that as people become more aware of the cameras we will start to see a change in driver behavior.”

The camera program, which was ranked as one of the council’s top 10 priorities during its 2016 planning session, placed cameras to capture images of vehicles running red lights at:

* Charles Boulevard and 14th Street;

* Charles Boulevard and Fire Tower Road;

* Arlington Boulevard and Fire Tower Road;

* Arlington Boulevard and Greenville Boulevard;

* Arlington Boulevard and South Memorial Drive.

Hunter said officers reviewed a total of 3,391  violations during the first 30 days of the program. Hunter said 3,336 violations were approved by GPD officers and the remaining 55 violations during this time period were rejected by GPD officers.

A breakdown of the number of violations at each intersection are:

* Charles Boulevard and 14th Street – 392

* Charles Boulevard and Fire Tower Road – 353

* Arlington Boulevard and Fire Tower Road – 328

* Arlington Boulevard and Greenville Boulevard – 1,039

* Arlington Boulevard and South Memorial Drive – 209.

The system works by calculating when a vehicle is going to run a red light based on the speed the vehicle is traveling. The camera is activated and takes a photo as the vehicle as it approaches the stop bar and then takes another photo of the vehicle in the intersection.

The violations are civil infractions, which means motorists have to pay a $100 fine but no points will be assessed on their license. An additional $100 late fee is charged if the fine is not paid on time.

After a citation is issued, the vehicle’s owner can go online and watch the video and images taken of their vehicle. Vehicle owners also can appeal the citation if they choose.

The city contracted American Traffic Solutions to install and maintain the red light camera system. Revenue from the fines will be used to pay for the program’s operation and extra funds will go to Pitt County Schools.

Pitt County Schools received $227,348 in the first month alone from the program, according to police officials.

“This program isn’t about money … it’s about safety,” Hunter said. “Our long-term goal is to reach a point where driver behavior has changed so much that we won’t need the cameras at all.”

Hunter said the police department does not plan to install additional cameras.

“We do not have any current plans to place cameras at additional intersections,” she said. “Studies have shown that when cameras are placed at select intersections they tend to have a ‘halo effect’ throughout the city.”

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