The process for getting a driver’s license takes time for a reason – driving is something people should take very seriously because when someone inexperienced or negligent gets behind the wheel of a car, people can be hurt or even killed. That is why we have exams to test peoples’ knowledge of road rules as well as test them to see how well they can operate a motor vehicle.
However, even with all that studying and practicing, there are still people who obtain their licenses and then throw the rulebook straight out the window. For this reason, officials attempt to find and implement strategies that they hope will entice drivers to move with more caution on the roads and consider the safety of everyone around them before they get into a car.
Red Light, Green Light, Go
One such approach that officials are suggesting as a way to help deal with the high rate of motor vehicle accidents in Nassau County is to install red-light cameras. “Speed cameras should be explored for the Long Island Expressway”, said a Nassau County official in reaction to nine people being killed in crashes on the road in the month of August alone. Nassau Comptroller George Maragos tweeted, “Something has to be done to eliminate this weekly sorrow. Perhaps speed cameras on the LIE?”
There is no doubt about it, traffic cameras are a contentious issue. Some feel they are a money making scheme, rigged to trap drivers, while others say they are a safety device that changes behavior.There is even a Facebook page, “New Yorkers Against Red Light Cameras.” Some claim the duration of yellow lights is shortened to trick cars into citations.
The bottom line is these programs need to be created for SAFETY, not revenue. In fact, the issue of citations only being issued to generate revenue came up in arguments against the implementation of the Red Light Camera Program in Suffolk County. It was found that the program had cost taxpayers over 30,000,00 each year, and to make matters worse, nearly 30-40% of the profits were being sent to the Maryland-based camera manufacturer Xerox instead of the county of Suffolk.
The Chicago Tribune recently commissioned a major study to investigate Chicago’s red light camera system. It was revealed that the system as a whole is actually making Chicago intersections less safe. Rear end collisions increased 22 percent at intersections with red light cameras. Similarly, going back to the situation in Suffolk County, rear-end accidents had also increased by nearly 30% after the Red Light Camera Program began.
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has statistics that differ from this Chicago study. It reports that total red-light running crash fatalities decreased 22 percent from 2007 to 2011, as the number of communities with red-light safety cameras increased 135 percent.
Considering the differences between crash statistics in areas with red-light cameras, it can be hard to say whether or not they are indeed helpful or if they serve as a hindrance to drivers on the road. One thing is for certain – traffic lights should not be tampered with to change the timing of yellow lights, and red-light camera programs overall should be geared towards promoting driver safety instead of simply increasing county revenue through traffic citations.
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Suffolk County’s Experiment in Red Light Cameras
Suffolk County recently extended its own traffic camera policies for the next five years, according to reports by CBS New York. Like the LIE speed cameras, the program is not without controversy. Plus, it has seen a similar lack of success as the Chicago red-light camera program, with accidents at intersections in which cameras are installed rising as much as 60%. The evidence seems to suggest that the influx of traffic cameras do not lower the rates of crashes and injuries, which can include lifelong consequences like lost limbs, disfigurement, paralysis, and permanent loss of mobility.
If you are injured in a car crash on the LIE, speak with the skilled Nassau County car accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck as soon as possible. Our lawyers can work with you to gather evidence of your damages, preserve evidence of the opposing driver’s fault, coordinate medical care to ensure compliance with insurance companies, engage in pretrial negotiations with opposing counsel, and take the matter to court if an agreeable settlement cannot be reached.
How are Tickets Issued?
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1111(d) 1 states that “facing a steady red signal… (traffic) shall stop before entering intersection….and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.” Red light cameras interpret the law in such a way that if any part of the vehicle has not entered the intersection when the light turns red, then a ticket will be issued.
Part of the problem here relates to the theory some people maintain, which is that county officials in places like Suffolk County where red-light cameras have already been implemented have intentionally shortened the time of yellow lights in order to trap more drivers and therefore rake in more money via citations. Stephen Ruth, one of these believers who has since been dubbed the “Red Light Robin Hood,” has shared videos on his Facebook page comparing the yellow lights at intersections without cameras, which last 5 seconds, with the yellow lights at intersections with the cameras, which only allow 3 seconds.
So, in regards to how the red lights interpret the law, Ruth argues that the red-light camera system is faulty – he insists that in areas of 55 mph where drivers are expecting the usual amount of time to go through a yellow light, they are taken by surprise when it so quickly turns red and therefore they must slam on their brakes. This can either cause a serious accident, generally in the form of a rear-end collision, or the driver will be issued a citation due to the nose of their vehicle sticking slightly out into the intersection because they were forced to stop so unexpectedly.
In Nassau County, drivers can receive a citation for making a left turn when the light is red; going straight through a red light; making a right on red but failing to make a complete stop; or blatantly disregarding a red light.
Call a Long Island Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have become a victim of an intersection accident involving red light cameras, consult with an attorney regarding your rights as you may be entitled to compensation. At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, we have the knowledge and skills to defend you, because we believe that people affected by red-light cameras that were only installed as a means of making money should get the justice they deserve. With recent developments coming to light about the timing being decreased for yellow lights, we see that something must be done.
Contact our personal injury firm today to schedule your free initial consultation. We will use our expertise to guide you and help you decide what your next steps should be.