Driver's defense in red-light camera suit? Newton's law

News & ObserverDecember 21, 2010 

Brian Ceccarelli blames higher law for his violation of traffic law.

He says Isaac Newton's laws of motion kept him from stopping his car at a North Carolina intersection on Nov. 6, 2009, before a fleeting yellow light turned red.

A red-light camera snapped his picture, and Ceccarelli received a $50 ticket for running the light at Cary Towne Boulevard and District Drive.

Since then, Ceccarelli has built a website ( and filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court - both dedicated to his Newtonian defense.

"We have to obey the law of gravity," Ceccarelli, 49, a computer programmer who lives near Apex, said by e-mail. "We have to obey the law of momentum.

"Cary says a 45 mph car and a 20 mph car decelerating at the same rate must stop in the same time. There is no way this is possible in this universe, but Cary penalizes us $50 for not being able to make it happen."

Ceccarelli and three co-plaintiffs say Cary's yellow lights should last a few seconds longer, to give drivers more time to stop before the light turns red.

"We view the current settings of the yellow-light durations to be unfair and unsafe," said Bill Peaslee of Cary, one of Ceccarelli's lawyers. "And that's why we brought the lawsuit."

They have plenty of company. Drivers have complained for years about fleeting yellow lights at Cary's red-light camera intersections.

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