City ends red light camera contract

By Eric Klamut
Rocky Mount Telegram

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Rocky Mount no longer will utilize red light cameras at intersections throughout the city.
Assistant City Manager Peter Varney said Wednesday the city has opted not to renew its contract with Traffic Pax, the private firm which maintains the cameras for the city.
The company began removing the cameras on Jan. 1. Most all of the cameras have been taken down, Varney said.
“We did not renew the contract with the company,” Varney said. “We decided not to continue the program.”
The city began using the cameras in 2002 at five intersections throughout Rocky Mount. Varney said although the cameras were effective in preventing accidents at their posted locations, the program was not monetarily worthwhile for the city.
For every $50 ticket issued for a red light violation at the five posted intersections, Rocky Mount received $11. However, that figure is used to pay for administrative costs to keep the camera program running.
The remaining $39 of the sum was used to pay for operating, maintenance and adjudication costs to the privately owned company that manages the cameras, city officials said.
As part of a court ruling handed down in 2007, local schools also are entitled to a percentage of the revenue collected by municipalities from the traffic light camera citations.
The company Peek Traffic Inc., which was later bought-out by Traffic Pax, initially put up the cameras.
Traffic Pax is responsible for all the maintenance and operating costs for the red light cameras.
Varney said according to data, the cameras were effective in helping to prevent accidents and the running of red lights.
“Knowing that they were there, people responded as if there was the presence of a police officer,” Varney said.