Red Light Camera Report Results in More Questions than Answers

Suffolk County’s Red Light program, a safety agenda focused on changing driver behavior at red light intersections using automated enforcement, recently released its annual report that has resulted in more questions than answers.

The 2015 Red Light Safety Program Annual Report, the most recent report to date, shows that a total of $31 million in gross revenue was collected from citations issued from the start of the program in 2010 but paid in 2015, a drop of some $1.9 million from the previous year. However, an entire section containing accident data is missing in this report that was released in April. In the past, this section has included how many accidents happened and what the circumstances were, how many involved injury, what intersections they occurred at and more.

“It’s a disgrace,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta. “They say it’s coming — but they won’t even tell us who prepares the report.”

Suffolk County claims its Red Light program is safety-focused with the intention being to change driver behavior at red light intersections. There are some who disagree.

Take Stephen Ruth, frequently referred to as the “Red Light Robin Hood,” who has made it his mission to eliminate Suffolk County’s red light camera program. According to Ruth, Suffolk County’s red light camera program has led to several fatal accidents after the length of yellow lights were shortened in order to get more citations.

Ruth has posted videos on his Facebook page that show yellow lights that are shorter at intersections where red light cameras are installed. One of Ruth’s videos taken at an intersection without a camera, shows a yellow light that is five seconds. At an intersection with a red light camera, it is three seconds.

Through its contract with Suffolk County, Xerox provides, installs and maintains the cameras at no charge. The company makes money on the program by collecting $13 for each ticket, an amount that jumps to $33 when a camera generates more than 90 tickets in a month.

The Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violation Agency is quick to point out that red light running is a major cause of crashes, deaths and injuries at signalized intersections. The goal of photo enforcement is to deter violators, not catch them, it says. Signs and public information campaigns warn drivers that photo enforcement is in use. Revenue is generated from fines paid by drivers who continue to run red lights, adds Suffolk County Traffic and parking Violation Agency.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, personal injury attorneys, for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.