Some argue that the traffic cameras installed at Suffolk County intersections are employed to generate revenue, while others claim that they are used for safety [“Rear-end crashes up 35%,” News, May 5].
One position needn’t cancel out the other. Having those who violate our traffic rules pay for the potential danger they create is a perfectly reasonable method to change bad habits. If one of the 350,000 violators wants to avoid ever receiving a ticket, there’s a simple solution. Put down your electronic device, keep a reasonable distance from the car in front of you and heed the traffic lights.
If my calculations are correct, 350,000 fines collected in 2016 at $80 a pop resulted in $28 million. If, in fact, the purpose of the red-light cameras is to make the roads safer, what is being done with that $28 million?
How about fixing and repairing all the potholes in the roads and repainting worn-out traffic lines all over Long Island? How about replacing missing street signs and making them much larger so they can be seen from a distance? How about making Long Island roads more pedestrian friendly by building pedestrian bridges or allowing more time at the light for people to cross a busy highway? How about creating public service announcements on radio and TV, as they did years ago with the “Don’t cross in the middle of the block” jingle to promote safe driving and persuade people to slow down at a yellow light instead of speeding up to beat the red? There’s a lot more to be done to make the roads safer, and it seems like there’s enough money to do it.
The statistics show a few things. The total accidents is down, yet rear-end accidents are up.
What this should tell us is too many people are speeding and/or tailgating, even as more people are electing not to run red lights. If you stop short to avoid entering an intersection after the light turns red, you were going too fast. If you stop short to avoid rear-ending another vehicle, you were too close. If you get a ticket for a right on red, the video supplied to the driver will show whether the driver made a full stop. That means stopping before crossing the stop line, and remaining motionless for at least three seconds.
If people believe the cameras are there to generate revenue for the county, why do they drive in a manner that guarantees they will contribute to that revenue stream?
No one is a perfect driver. I’ve received a very occasional summons for this type of violation. When I made the mistake, the summons was not a surprise.
If you’re getting less than one per year, you’re not part of the problem. If you’re receiving them more often, you likely are.