Community Viewpoint

Red_Light_CameraRed Light Camera Report

Dear Editor:

“The Suffolk County Red Light Safety Program uses automated enforcement to enhance the safety of motorists at red light intersections located within Suffolk County,” according to the county’s Traffic and Parking Violations Agency website. However, the 2015 report recently released by the Agency tells a different story. A review of the data shows that 50% of the county’s red light camera intersections saw an increase in reported accidents over the previous year while 42% of red light camera intersections saw an increase in accidents involving injury. Those are startling statistics, although not entirely surprising, as last year’s report told a similar tale. How can the county continue to ignore that its “safety” program may be placing motorists in jeopardy?
The report indicates that the county experienced an overall reduction in accidents at red light camera locations across Suffolk during the period, which is good news, however, that fact further underscores the concern over specific intersections and makes the county’s unwillingness to address potential safety fears all the more egregious. The cameras continue to roll at these intersections with no thought of taking them offline. Despite the urging of countless motorists and several lawmakers, including myself, the administration has refused to entertain any suspension or re-evaluation of this program, which at best is flawed and at worst dangerous. And, the reason for that is simple; the program continues to be what it always has been, more about dollars than sense.

Robert Trotta
Suffolk County Legislator, 13th District

Suspend Red Light Cameras

Dear Editor:
On Tuesday, July 25th, 2017, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey introduced a Local Law to temporarily suspend the Red Light Camera Program until the Department of Public Works completes a study on the program’s impact on safety.
According to a recent report by the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, the percentage of rear-end collisions at red light camera locations increased by 30 percent in 2015, which is the latest year in which data is available. The same study showed that accidents involving injuries increased at 46 red light camera locations in Suffolk County.
If this program is really about safety, then it should be easy for everyone to agree to pause it, so the Department of Public Works can get to the bottom of these accident and injury increases at many of the red light camera intersections. Anyone voting against McCaffrey’s resolution clearly has other motives for the program and is perhaps putting revenue ahead of the safety of our residents.
According to the Local Law, Introductory Resolution 1581, which is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, September 6 in the Legislature Auditorium at the Riverhead County Center, the Red Light Camera Program has raised concerns regarding the timing of yellow and red lights. It also states that several citizens, lawyers and local leaders in Suffolk County claimed that the flash caused by the cameras has caused more automobile accidents than it has prevented.
The Red Light Camera program was authorized by the Suffolk County Legislature and by the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law in 2009. The program was sold to the public as a way to reduce accidents and fatalities at intersections in Suffolk County.
The program has caused controversy, attracting criticism from both the public and community leaders, who claim that 80 percent of tickets are given to motorists that make right turns on red. Another point of criticism from residents in Suffolk County is that the Red Light Camera Program is more a money grab than a safety measure.

Zachary Giglio
Chief Legislative Aide, 14th District
Legislator Kevin J. McCaffrey

Filed in: Community Viewpoint

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