Camera Traffic Signal

Safelight Frequently Asked Questions

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Red-Light Violations Citations, Insurance, Points, Errors and Appeals Payment and Program Management

Browse our commonly asked questions below to find out more about our Safelight program. 

Red-Light Violations

What is red light running?

A violation occurs when a motorist enters an intersection after the signal light has turned red. For example, motorists caught in an intersection when the signal changes to red - when waiting to turn, as well as right on red movements - are not considered red light violations.

Isn't conventional police enforcement sufficient?

Enforcing traffic laws in Raleigh by traditional means poses special difficulties for police, who in most cases must follow a violating vehicle through a red light in order to stop it. This can endanger motorists and pedestrians as well as officers. Raleigh doesn't have the resources to allow police to patrol intersections as often as would be needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights. SafeLight cameras allow police to focus on other enforcement needs.

What are red light cameras?

A red light camera system can be either connected to sensors buried in the pavement at the stop bar or detected by radar. A vehicle passing through the intersection above a pre-set minimum speed and following a specified interval after the signal has turned red triggers the camera. The camera records the date, time of day, elapsed time since the beginning of the red signal, and the speed of the vehicle. An electronic flash produces clear images of vehicles under all light and weather conditions.

Do the cameras photograph every vehicle passing through an intersection?

No. The cameras are set so only those vehicles that enter the intersection after the light has turned red are photographed. Drivers who enter on yellow and find themselves in an intersection when the light changes to red are not photographed. This technology is intended to photograph vehicles driven by motorists who enter an intersection after the signal has turned red.

Citations, Insurance, Points, Errors and Appeals

When a violation occurs, who receives the citation?

SafeLight citations are mailed to the registered vehicle owner after the City of Raleigh has reviewed the photographs of the violation.

What if the registered owner was not driving the vehicle?

The owner of the vehicle is ultimately responsible for paying or appealing the citation to the SafeLight office. Please refer to the back of your initial citation form for instructions. If the car had been reported stolen at the time of the violation, the owner must submit a copy of the filed police report. If someone other than the vehicle owner had the car, custody or control of the vehicle at the time of the violation, the owner must complete (and have notarized) the requested transfer information on the back of the initial citation.

Will the citation add points to the driver's record?

No. Citations issued through the SafeLight program are non-criminal. Neither insurance nor license points are added.

How are citations appealed?

The SafeLight staff will set up an appointment for the owner with a hearing officer for a virtual administrative hearing. The hearing officer will review the information provided by the vehicle owner and decide whether to withdraw the citation. Instructions for filing an appeal are printed on the back of your initial citation.

If you feel that the citation was issued in error, please feel free to contact Customer Service.

What happens if the citation isn't paid or appealed?

A late penalty of $50 is added to the fine if a citation is not paid or appealed within 30 days after it is mailed. Any unpaid citations will be forwarded to a collection agency.

What law gives the City the right to issue the citation?

Senate Bill 243 passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2001.

Payment and Program Management

Who manages the SafeLight program?

SafeLight is a City of Raleigh program. In April 2003, The City of Raleigh partnered with Conduent State & Local Solutions, Inc. to operate the SafeLight program.

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Traffic Engineering