NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Red light cameras make lots of money for local governments, but those governments aren’t always keeping up with their end of the bargain.
AAA is out with a review of all the red light programs in New York and they’re calling for much better oversight.
Drivers love to hate red light cameras and their hefty fines.
“They set up these things to make money and take people’s money and that’s being a crook,” one driver told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
“It definitely makes it more dangerous on the road.”
Now, the group that represents nearly 6 million regional drivers has revealed more reasons to see red.
In its study of the eight New York municipalities that use red light cameras, AAA found flaws in all of them.
In Nassau County, injuries are down 39% but it’s three years behind in filing required data with New York State.
Nassau tied with New York City in issuing half a million tickets per year but making twice as much money because of extra fees it tacks on — a whopping $150 per violation.
“We think it’s very unfair that for low-income drivers, it’s an onerous imposition,” said Robert Sinclair with AAA Northeast.
“If it was $75, I could manage that, but $150 is like, my god, I’m losing my savings,” ticketed driver Scott Demeter said.
Suffolk County, the review says, “should reevaluate camera placement.”
“It seems in Suffolk County a lot more drivers are slamming on the brakes because we’ve seen the number of rear-end crashes go up by 60%,” Sinclair said.
New York City, where injuries are down 29%, provides no data on specific intersections.
AAA says Mount Vernon has never submitted required annual reports. They’re calling for state to manage the programs and penalized municipalities that don’t follow the rules.
“It’s unconscionable that a municipality can get away with that,” Sinclair said. “They’re violating the law, but there is no oversight and no penalty.”
Yet, they conclude red light cameras prevent deadly crashes and some drivers say they do teach an expensive lesson.
“I’m going to drive safer from now on. Paying money, learned my lesson today.”
AAA concludes red light cameras can work with better oversight, and if they’re really about saving lives, the revenue should go back into traffic safety initiatives.
Mount Vernon officials told CBS2 they are looking into whether or not they have submitted the required reports.