Red Light Cameras on Long Island are in the news again. Newsday’s sunday cover story was about the number of red light summonses issued by Suffolk County in 2012. The headline says it all: “Revenue Down“. As many suspect, it seems that the powers that be are at least as interested in the revenue brought in by these cameras as they are about safety on the roads.
Two years ago, we posted an article about Suffolk County’s red light camera program. We noted then that there was no clear evidence that these cameras made the roads safer. The recent statistics do appear to show a decrease in accidents at the intersections where the red light cameras are installed, though it is still too early to draw any conclusions from the limited data available.
On the other hand, it is clear that the revenue generated by these red light cameras is dropping as motorists learn where they are set up. Both Long Island counties are in the midst of fiscal crises, and this revenue has come to be counted on as a revenue source. Not to worry. Bureaucrats are coming up with new, more creative ways to extract money from their already over taxed citizens. Suffolk County is moving the cameras around to catch more people off guard. Stop sign cameras are already being used in some Long Island villages, and it is only a matter of time before their use becomes widespread. Governor Cuomo has also announced that he wants to bring school zone speed cameras to Long Island.
One New York City lawmaker wants to tell motorists where the cameras are located. Councilman Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island believes “It’s not about revenue-generating, it’s about slowing people down and getting them to stop.” We’ll have to wait and see whether his bill gets anywhere. In the meantime, New York City Mayor de Blasio is pushing his Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths. He wants authorization to install as many red light and speed cameras as he sees fit. Apparently, his new plan doesn’t apply to him or his staff.