KPD considers more traffic light cameras

Matthew Lane • Sep 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Redflex Traffic Systems conducted video surveys of four new intersections and two new approaches in the Model City last week to see if additional red light cameras are warranted.

The city of Kingsport entered into a contract with Redflex last November to establish red light cameras at some of the city’s most dangerous intersections in an attempt to get people to stop running red lights and to reduce the number of fatal accidents at these intersections.

Cameras installed at seven approaches at six intersections went live May 1, and since then just over 13,000 red light violations have been cited.

Kingsport Police Department officials have said all along cameras may be installed at additional intersections where a significant number of traffic crashes occur.

This past week, representatives from Redflex were in town conducting surveys at four new intersections and two new approaches to determine just that.

“We knew in the beginning that there were certain intersections that we had identified as intersections of concern, where we had experienced traffic crashes, we had seen violations occur, and had received complaints from citizens. We addressed those first and have the cameras currently installed,” said Deputy Chief David Quillin. “We’re a few months into the program, and what we’ve been doing is working. Now we want to look at other intersections in the city to see if there are enough violations occurring to see if we need camera systems set up at those locations.”

Quillin said Redflex set up portable cameras for 24 hours at the following intersections:

• Fort Henry Drive and Moreland Drive.

• East Stone Drive and New Beeson Well Road.

• West Stone Drive and Netherland Inn Road.

• Wilcox Drive and Meadowview Parkway.

And the following approaches:

• Eastbound at Stone Drive and Clinchfield.

• Westbound at Stone Drive and Union.

Quillin said these intersections were selected because they fell in line with the top intersections in the city for crashes or were intersections citizens were concerned about.

But why not downtown?

“We looked at the intersections that had the most injuries,” Quillin said. “When you think about Stone Drive and Fort Henry Drive, vehicle speed is much greater and vehicles travel quite a bit faster than you do downtown. The chances for more injuries are going to be on those type of roadways.”

Redflex officials will now watch the videos for red light violations and report their findings to Quillin. At that point, Quillin said he would probably meet with Chief Gale Osborne and City Manager John Campbell, discuss the issue, look at the numbers, and see if the city wants Redflex to install any additional cameras.

“We may not need to do anything. If the numbers are there, then we’ll move forward with the process,” Quillin said. “The numbers may come back and say there’s not enough violations to justify putting up a system here.”

The original cameras went active on April 1 — a trial month where warnings were sent to violators — and detected 4,041 violations. Since then about 13,020 have been detected — 3,529 in May; 2,996 in June; 2,819 in July; 2,661 in August; and 1,015 for the first 15 days of September.

Quillin said the first week the system went live, about 1,200 violations were detected. Last week that number was less than 500.

“The system is working,” he said. “We’ve seen over a 50 percent reduction in violations.”

If someone receives a ticket for running a red light at one of the intersections, they are charged $50 for the violation and $50 court costs. If the ticket is contested and the driver loses, an additional $13.75 is charged.

Quillin said no one has successfully contested the ticket.

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