Red light cameras to be reconsidered in Gwinnett

Though the police chief praises the decrease in accidents and injuries brought on by red light cameras in Gwinnett County, their future is unclear.

In a rare display of disagreement, four county commissioners split votes, 2-2, on whether to approve a new, one-year contract to keep the cameras in 2015. The chairman, Charlotte Nash, did not attend the Dec. 2 meeting.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote again on the $262,000 proposal Tuesday. This is the contract’s fourth renewal.

Police Chief Butch Ayers said the statistics prove the cameras are valuable. They are currently at three intersections in the county: Buford Drive and Mall of Georgia Boulevard; Beaver Ruin Road and Steve Reynolds Boulevard; and Pleasant Hill Road and Club Drive.

“All three have significant reductions in injuries,” Ayers said. “With the camera, people are not trying to beat the light.”

At Buford Drive, intersection accidents are down 80 percent between 2009 and October, as compared to 2004 to 2007. The camera was installed in 2008. The Beaver Ruin accidents are down 56 percent from the 2009 installation, and Pleasant Hill accidents are 77 percent lower since the camera was installed last year, Ayers said.

In 2013, the cameras caught a combined 8,496 people running red lights at those intersections. Through October of this year, 7,265 were issued citations.

“I think it’s something that’s going to keep our citizens safe,” County Commissioner Lynette Howard said of the cameras at the Dec. 2 meeting. She worried that removing them might lead to more accidents and higher insurance rates for residents.

Commissioner Jace Brooks also voted in favor of the cameras. Neither he or the two opposed commissioners, Tommy Hunter and John Heard, explained their reasoning.

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