Red light cameras have become a way of life in New York City and Nassau County, and if City of Yonkers officials are successful, these cameras will be installed at major intersections in Westchester’s largest city as well. The main stated purpose of the red light cameras is to catch red light violators “red handed” so to speak, and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they have saved 159 lives in the 14 largest U.S. cities between 2004 and 2008. Further, the Institute estimates that had red light cameras been in place in all large cities during that 4 year period, 815 fatalities would have been prevented.
There are certainly skeptics about the red light camera program, especially in light of the budgetary woes of many municipalities in recent years. What is the prime motivation for the program, to maximize safety, or income for the jurisdiction? Millions of violations which are for the most part not contested (another major savings to the municipality in less overtime for police officers) can be a major cash stream to a struggling city or town.
Nassau County has installed 152 cameras in 50 intersections since 2009, and although county officials projected that they would gross 38.2 million from fines in 2011, according to the American Automotive Association, the $50.00 fines will end up garnering approximately half of that amount. There is little incentive for drivers to fight the violations, as they are not reported to insurance companies, there are no points assessed on the violator’s license, and the driver can go online to watch him or herself in action committing the violation. The “pay rate” in Nassau County fro these tickets is reportedly 85%.
According to the Nassau Department of Public Works, the red light program has reduced roadway fatalities 21% since its inception. There has been a reduction in both serious crashes and injuries, according to Christopher Mistron, the traffic safety educator for the county. Many of the violators, rather than going through the red light, fail to slow down before making a right turn. This accounts for 38% of all of Nassau County’s red light revenue.
We will follow up on this article if and when the red light camera programs are expanded to other jurisdictions.
If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, truck or motorcycle crash, or have suffered injury due to a premises liability accident, contact the Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyers at the White Plains, New York Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633. We provide a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable trial attorney who will discuss your case in detail and outline your legal rights and options.