If you think red light cameras are a money grab, check this. I got a traffic ticket for a stop sign violation in Suffolk County, and here’s what happened.
I appeared at traffic court to pay my fine, and the clerk told me it would be $75 plus an administrative fee of $55. There also would be an $88 surcharge and a $12 fee, in addition, to pay online. So, a stop sign roll can cost you $230 — more than double that of a red light infraction.
But it’s possible to reduce your points and fine if you opt for a hearing, which the clerk recommended.
It sounded good to me, so I returned two weeks later for my hearing and was offered a “deal”: three points on my license with the above mentioned fine, or two points and $293. Or, I was told, for $480 the whole thing would go away. Is this traffic court or “Let’s Make a Deal”?
Points, like red light cameras, are a deterrent. Earn some, and you’re likely to be a more aware driver. But money can also buy away points? If you can afford it, you have a clean license. If not, you collect the points and face your insurance company.
Points for sale? This seems like a bad idea.
Bob Adamec, Bay Shore
Better access at Smith Point park
I recently went to Smith Point County Park to enjoy a day at the beach. Unfortunately, I’m a senior with heart problems, which prevented me from walking up the steep grade to the boardwalk.
Although there are handicapped parking spaces close to the boardwalk, I would have had to get there very early to find one.
It would be a great service to have golf carts to shuttle seniors and people with disabilities to the top to access the boardwalk and the beach.
Nick Franzi, Holbrook
Long-term care insurance not worth it
I felt I should be covered by a long-term care policy, so in 2000 I bought what was the best policy I could find. I was told to buy it immediately, as the younger you start, the lower the rates, and they never raise the rates.
After faithfully paying $2,600 a year for 14 years, the insurance company raised the rate modestly in 2015. They said it had to do with added expenses.
However, this year, the company raised my rate 60 percent to $4,580 and said it could go up again next year.
I contacted the company and was told that to control costs, I could discontinue portions of the policy, or I could opt out and they would keep the roughly $40,000 I had paid.
How does any company get away with a 60 percent increase and stay in business?
Robert Casale, Glen Head