How to Play:
The player designated as "It" stands a good distance away from the rest of the kids, with his back turned to the rest of the group. He calls, "Green Light!" and the children run toward him until he says, "Red Light.” "It" turns around and tries to catch anyone who is moving. If he sees someone moving, that person must go back to the start line. Play continues until someone runs up and tags “It”.
I have fond memories of playing this game on hot summer days with my siblings…back then it didn’t mean much more to me than just being a game. But now I see that it teaches children the significance of simple traffic signals and how to obey the rules while having fun. But those who crafted Senate Bill 187 have apparently forgotten this simple game and the lessons it taught.
Senate Bill 187 is an act to make the use of photographic camera systems to regulate traffic unlawful. If passed, this bill will eliminate the use of all red light cameras in the state. It has already been passed through the Senate Transportation Committee and will be up for vote in the House in the coming weeks.
There are two glaring reasons Cape Fear Future opposes this bill. Currently, the fine money generated from the red light camera system goes toward camera operational costs and NC schools. At our last Commission meeting, superintendents from the tri-county area were able to provide insight into the constrained framework our educators have to work within. This is further exacerbated by budget cuts that have been made at both the state and local levels.
As if another cut to school funding is not motive enough to oppose the bill, Wilmington has seen a great reduction in traffic accidents in those intersections where the red light cameras are in place. According to the NC Department of Transportation, in 2008, Wilmington ranked number one for car crashes compared to other cities with populations of 10,000 or more.
This staggering statistic illustrates the need for traffic cameras in places like Wilmington that have a high incidence of traffic accidents. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the cameras save lives and prevent crashes in intersections.
So you are running through a red light...the camera catches you. You should have stopped but you didn't. You were caught in the act. That is the same premise as Red Light-Green Light, an old fashioned children’s' game...why shouldn’t you pay a fine?
Unfortunately, this issue isn’t as simple as playing a childhood game….but we will be covering our eyes and turning our backs if we don't stop the red light legislation that affects children's education. We have a responsibility to see that everyone follows the rules.
Because these cameras help “patrol” intersections, police can focus on other priorities, and the schools get much-needed funding. With our efforts to improve region’s K-12 school systems and quality of life, Cape Fear Future opposes passage of this bill. Please reach out to our representatives in the North Carolina House and educate them on the implications…and let’s send Senate Bill 187 back to the starting line.
Please see the link below for a list of the NC House of Representatives Members. Click on the Representative’s name and you will be able to access their contact information.