OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Drivers passing through Opelika no longer have to worry about red light cameras. News 3 discovered the cameras were pulled several months ago at all five locations in the city.
Gateway Drive and Fredrick Road and four other significant intersections in Opelika including Gateway Drive and Pepperell Parkway are no longer covered by red light cameras. The cameras were pulled from the city about six months ago meaning citizens are no longer receiving citations for running red unless they are caught by a police officer.
“Our citizens didn’t like them, and there was no major outcry to keep them. They have been gone since June 1st,” said Gary Fuller.
Mayor Gary Fuller says the red light cameras have always been unpopular with citizens.
“I’m happy they are gone. It was very fast, and you get stuck in the middle on yellow, and then you’d get a ticket,” said Joshua Faircloth.
Faircloth tells News 3 he got a $60 ticket because of the cameras at the Gateway Drive and Fredrick Road intersection.
“Our contract expired in May, and we did not renew the contract, with ATS. Red light cameras we had thought would be a deterrent for intersection collisions with people running red lights. However, the chief of police, Chief McEachern reported our accidents actually increased with rear-end collisions,” explained Fuller.
Fuller says the cameras were not removed because of an October 2017 lawsuit filed against the city. Fuller says similar lawsuits have been filed all over the country.
“If you got a red light citation there was a way to appeal it to or municipal court. Well these two plaintiffs didn’t do that, so Judge Hughes dismissed the case, so it’s being appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court,” said Fuller.
Fuller estimates in 5 years the cameras were up the city generated $750,000 in fines.
“If we never wrote another citation for anything that would be fine for our police officers and me. We are not running the city based on income for mischief we catch people doing,” Fuller told News 3.
Fuller says the red lights cameras were not installed to generate revenue for the city. Mayor Fuller says he’d hoped the cameras would improve safety. He does believe the cameras did stop people from running red lights, but the overall safety benefit was not worth renewing the contract.