In previous articles we have discussed the increased presence of red light cameras on Long Island. Now, a New York City firefighter is raising the issue of a too short yellow light at the intersection where he received a red light camera summons.
Thomas Buttaro received a summons for passing a red light on Route 347 near his home in Port Jefferson Station. He discovered through Freedom of Information Act requests that the yellow light at this intersection lasted only 3.9 seconds. For New York roads with 55 mile per hour speed limits, the yellow light duration should be 5.5 seconds.
Despite the evidence he submitted in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip, he was found guilty of the violation and fined fifty dollars.
The National Motorists Association Blog is sponsoring a Stop Short Yellow Lights project. It is their belief that municipalities are intentionally shortening the length of yellow traffic lights to generate more revenue. The NMA cites data that shows that the practice shortening yellow lights increases traffic accidents.
A few weeks after Mr. Buttaro received his summons, the lengthof the yellow light at the intersection where he was cited was raised to 5.4 seconds, in compliance with New York standards.
Mr. Buttaro testified before the Suffolk County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee last week and proposed a solution to this problem. According to the Newsday article, “he told the county legislature’s Public Safety Committee last week that the red-light camera system itself could be used to point out when yellow signals are out of sync: A protocol could be established to kick out a ticket when the yellow-light time recorded on it doesn’t correspond to the state-designated time for the intersection.”
Please keep in mind that nothing contained in this article is meant to be construed as legal advice. Also, laws change frequently, so do not rely on this article as an up to date, accurate source of information on New York law. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney of your choice.