Red-Light Camera Program in Eastern NC City Struck Down

A North Carolina city’s red-light camera program is unconstitutional because too little of the money it generates through penalties ends up with the local school system, the state Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday.

An appellate panel decided unanimously that Greenville’s funding framework violates the state constitution’s directive that the “clear proceeds” of all fines collected must be “used exclusively for maintaining free public schools.”

The city contracted in 2017 with American Traffic Solutions of Arizona to install and operate the red-light cameras. Motorists photographed driving through red lights receive citations and face a $100 penalty. Two motorists who were cited sued the city and the Pitt County Board of Education, which ultimately gets the proceeds.

The General Assembly has agreed that a local school board must receive at least 90% of the total fees and fines collected to meet the definition of ”clear proceeds.”