It’s been more than two years since the town of Hope Mills took action to start the process of bringing red-light cameras to the community.
The cameras, which are already in nearby Fayetteville, are posted at no cost to the town at designated intersections and capture images of drivers running red lights.
The drivers are contacted by mail and assessed fines. The money collected from the fines is divided between the company that operates the cameras and Cumberland County Schools.
Neither the town nor its police department are involved in any way in the operation of the cameras or where the money goes. The only thing the town does is decide which intersections to have the cameras cover.
When the plan was first presented to the town’s board of commissioners March 6, 2017, members of that board voted unanimously to move forward with looking into adding cameras to the town.
The issue has resurfaced since the North Carolina House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would bring the cameras to Hope Mills. It still has to pass the North Carolina Senate for it to happen.
Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo stood by his previous comments from the board meeting of two years ago and said traffic safety is always a priority in Hope Mills. He added that no decisions had been made on where cameras would be located if they are finally approved. When it comes time to make a decision, Acciardo said, the town will likely draw on statistics and find the locations where accidents have been the biggest problem.
Commissioner Pat Edwards, who seconded the original motion by Commissioner Jerry Legge to look into the cameras, said she had heard a lot of pros and cons since then about bringing the cameras to Hope Mills.
Edwards said input from citizens would guide her final decision on adding cameras, but she added that if the issue involves safety for the community and the schools get additional funding from the project, she would tend to be supportive.
“How often do you get something that doesn’t cost anything that provides safety?’’ Edwards said.
Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner supports the cameras, both for the role they could play in saving lives and for providing money to the schools.
Warner mentioned a number of intersections where accidents occur frequently that have been looked at in previous years. The list includes Hope Mills and Camden Road, Hope Mills and Highway 162, and Legion Road and Highway 162.
“A lot of it has to do with impatience, especially at Main Street/Hope Mills Road and Camden,’’ Warner said. “They just take a chance. We see it happening all the time.
“Statistically, there is national proof that the red-light cameras save lives and prevent accidents in attempting to prevent traffic from running yellow and red lights. Ultimately, the final decision will be left up to this board.’’