YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A report from AAA claims Yonkers is not adequately explaining why and how the cameras are helping while it collects millions in fines.
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, there’s no question the red light cameras are getting drivers to stop in Yonkers.
“Over 50 percent decrease in the amount of tickets issued…where people are saying, OK, there’s a red light camera, you need to stop,” Yonkers City Spokeswoman Christina Gilmartin said.
But are drivers stopping too soon? AAA’s report said while dangerous T-bone crashes are down at the intersections with cameras, rear-end crashes appear to be on the rise.
“Everybody’s complaining, everybody I know in Yonkers,” resident Andrew McQueen said.
McQueen said he’s had it with the tickets and has some advice for other drivers.
“Don’t drive through the yellow lights at all, just stop. Even if you’ve got to brake hard, just stop, because it’s pulling money out of people’s pockets unfairly,” he said.
Robert Sinclair, AAA spokesman, said what’s really not fair is that Yonkers isn’t being forthcoming with the whole picture.
“They were cherry-picking the data to make it appear that the program was successful,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair said you need crash data dating back several years to compare it; Yonkers says the program is too new a complete report can only be done after five years of the program.
The program is now coming up on five years. But AAA says a lack of information will only lead drivers to be more skeptical.
“If you look around the country, most municipalities are abandoning their red light camera programs because the public is so upset with them. Because they’re not being done right, they’re not being done fairly,” Sinclair said.
But Yonkers’ program is not without some support.
“There’re a lot of crazy drivers out there today so I think the red light cameras, it’s a good thing. I think it’s safe,” resident Kevin Rodriguez said.
The city of Yonkers is standing by its red light camera program with no plans to change it for now, only to rotate some of the cameras like the one on South Broadway, Rincon reported.
The city of Yonkers made $4.8 million from the red light camera program in 2013. The city says the money goes into its general fund.