Fear Grows In Nassau Over Alleged Malfunctioning Red-Light Cameras

County Says It's Not An Issue, But One Resident Remains On A Crusade

CARLE PLACE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Red-light cameras seem to be everywhere, capturing the license plates of scofflaws and sending costly tickets by mail.

But some Long Island drivers are seeing red over what they claim are malfunctioning cameras.

For weeks Angela Crescenzi and her neighbors have gathered at their favorite Italian deli to complain. While nobody likes the proliferation of red-light cameras, they say, imagine if they were malfunctioning. They claim some are and are snapping would be-scofflaws when lights are yellow — not red.

“I would never pass a red. I passed the green. As soon as I passed the green it turned yellow and, boom, it went off,” Crescenzi told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Crescenzi, a grandmother and realtor, logged on to Nassau County’s red-light camera website. She typed in her violation number and viewed the color photo of her car at the intersection in question. She maintains the light was yellow. Her computer was unable to download the accompanying video and she remains unconvinced that she was at fault. The idea of paying the $65 fine has her furious.

“I’m petrified. I tell my husband I’m avoiding going to Pathmark because you have to pass Marcus Avenue and Union Turnpike. I am so mad it’s unbelievable,” Crescenzi said.

Nassau County’s Traffic Safety Board agrees that cameras can flash randomly when they’re getting calibrated and that might confuse drivers. They say cameras snapping photos during green or yellow lights are rejected.

Still, Crescenzi and her neighbors say they’ve been monitoring three specific intersections — in New Hyde Park, Franklin Square and Carle Place — and claim cameras are, at times, faulty.

“Camera goes off – all it does is click, click, click. Jennifer, I believe these tickets are not right.”

The county says all scofflaws are caught not only by snapshot but also on moving video, which is reviewed and confirmed by humans before tickets are sent in the mail to your home.

There are some 100 red-light cameras on Long Island. Nassau and Suffolk counties say they keep roads safe and are excellent sources of revenue.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Lead Foot

    Only thing I know, is that, now, I slow down for yellow lights, anticipate the red and come to a stop. Funny how that when I look around me I notice other drivers doing the same thing> I fully believe that this source of revenue ( that’s all it is) will have dimminishing returns as others also begin heeding the yellow lights. Trust me, I like to drive fast but dont like giving the county money.

  • Jim

    Whiners! The ticket is no points on your license. Just pay it and shut up.

    Or do what I do… slow down when the light starts turning yellow! If you’re using the yellow as a “hurry up and go” you wouldn’t be arguing over milliseconds of time.

    What these people need is an actual cop busting them for a light… that’s 1/3 of the way towards losing your license and several hundred dollars of fines/insurance.

  • R

    I got a ticket in Suffolk, even though the pictures accompanying the ticket showed the light was yellow and not red. It would cost more to take a day off of work to fight the ticket than to just pay it.

    If you read the terms of the ticket on the back, the parameters of the lights are not truthful and accurate either. The cameras supposedly take a series of two pictures to show a progression of a driver going through a light. It is stated the pics are seconds apart, but my ticket stated they were 3/100ths of a second apart. If the computer camera can’t capture the light effectively, how do they expect the human eye to catch 3/100ths of a second in time difference?

    • Steal My Money

      Nassau and Suffolk county are run by the biggest crooks. I wonder how they get any sleeps?!

  • Jimmy

    They’re not about safety. If they were then why not put up a sign warning about the cameras? Also If they want to make intersections safer just make it so that when the light turns red the other light doesn’t turn green immediately on the switch over.

  • micheal

    i m limo driver and Woodhaven north i paid 6 times in 3 months. Not yellow absolutely, even in green boomm and just pay.. ridiculous.. now specially on liberty i stops on green and wait for next green :( until some ones hit me, i think. Then i ll use local roads to pass that intersection. those rules must target the stop the accident and traffic flows not make money for Bloomerg. i get sick of to get no standing tickets after 25 th of every months in Manhattan.

  • MCK

    When I come to an intersection with a camera I am too busy watching the light then the car in front of me! Have come very close to an accident many times because of this!

  • Legal Theft

    I have to wait an extra 10 minutes at an intersection because a huge pile of car lines up during rush hour and everyone is too scared to move fast enough. They want to give themselves enough time to stop safely if the light turns yellow. Genius! One time a guy stopped while the light was still green and it was obvious to me that he was timing the light himself and thought it was going to turn yellow/red and he did not want to chance a ticket. Thanks Nassau/Suffolk county for thinking this thru. Create more pollutions having car idle more, cause more different type of accidents, and send out tickets that I hope people are ignoring. Short sighted greedy politicians not thinking.

    Lets not forget cameras are installed and maintain with 3rd party vendor who has a PROFIT SHARING incentive to have more tickets to increase their share of the revenue. GENIUS again!

  • Kris

    The red light cameras in Nassau county are designed to activate when the vehicle’s front bumper crosses the stop line. So when you STOP for the light and then “creep forward” and cross the stop line you will receive a ticket for “going through the red light”. Its about the money not safety. The public is being ripped off again.

    • goblin

      There is no stop line. The camera is triggered by a by an induction loop in the pavement. The next time you’re at a red light intersection, notice the pavement will have large squares cut out in each lane of traffic. The loop becomes active as the light is changing. Of course, the timing is set to entrap motorists all in the name of safety.

  • Jenn

    I saw an ambulance beeping furiously to get the driver in front of it, on either the left or right to move over (by putting the nose of their vehicles to the side and moving slightly into the intersection.) The driver wouldn’t move. It was a camera intersection, and my thought is I probably wouldn’t move either and risk a ticket.

    • Safety My Btt

      I wouldn’t move either since the program have made it impossible to fight the ticket even for legitimate reason to allow an ambulance to pass thru. I’m laughing at all the people that are pro for this red light program and are now switching side after getting numerous tickets.

  • BOB

    money makers not safety

  • karlson

    Eventually this red light cam thing will have to go the way of the LA red light cams. In LA some people did not pay the fines and they were not subject to non-renewal of license or registration. Others paid and eventually somebody sued the city and maybe the state of CA citing the fact that these red light cams cause more rear end collisions by people jamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket.

    The LA solution was to disable the cameras altogether.

    • teetotaler

      Other communities are also realizing that as the public catches on, they avoid taking routes with cameras. Revenue has dropped sharply and many municipalities are getting rid of the cameras.

  • dave

    my thoughts are that I’lll never visit these places. I’ll take my money somewhere else.

  • goblin

    The yellow light times are too short in camera intersections. The reason they’re set at the minimum government standard is to raise as much revenue as possible. Never mind the fact that a driver is faced with either flooring it through the intersection or risk being rear ended by standing on the brakes.

    It’s a proven fact that increasing yellow light times by even one second decreases revenue so much so that cameras don’t generate enough to sustain themselves.

  • dee

    What about the fact when you pay these tickets you send your check to a bank out of state. Why shouldn’t these jobs be in New York, or Long Island.
    Its a double disgrace- they fine people that live, work and shop in the area and then we support people out of state.

    • goblin

      It goes out of state because the private corporation running the cameras collects a portion of each fine generated by the cameras. The rest is then sent to the county. It is in their interest to place the cameras in high volume intersections to generate as much revenue as possible.

      Nice scam eh?

  • steve

    get rid of these cameras now! I know someone that made a turn on red and the camera went off. The person stop and turned. Right on red was O.K.

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