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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, Dec. 10, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

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I am a school crossing guard and would like to invite all traffic-ticket naysayers to stand with me on duty for a few hours. I am sure their views would change [“Traffic ticket bonanza,” News, Dec. 3].

We have lost control of our roads. Stop signs stand for “stop the other people.” Residential roads are treated as highways, with drivers averaging 45 mph. School zones seem to mean, speed up before someone enters the crosswalk.

I cannot make eye contact with at least one out of every five drivers because of illegally blacked-out windows. Blinkers are optional. People enter oncoming traffic if there is a garbage truck blocking their lane; it does not matter whether a car is in that oncoming lane. Turning lanes are used for passing. Since when is stopping first to turn right on red or at a stop sign not the law?

Every day we read about another pedestrian death on our roads!

Maybe fines or fees should be increased. Maybe then we could take back our roads and drive, walk or ride a bike on Long Island without fear.

Funny, but I never hear a courteous and cautious driver complain about the cost of traffic fines.

Linda Oley, Blue Point

I have worked in traffic courts in six villages as a court stenographer. Much is made about the size of the fines and the surcharges, which can add up. However, your story does not mention that many times, village justices give leeway to first-time offenders. In the interests of justice, they also sometimes dismiss tickets for parking when the circumstances allow it: for snowbound vehicles, dropping off a disabled person or other reasonable factors.

Another point in relation to the cost, but not mentioned, is that if a person has a clean driving record, the scale used to determine a fine usually levies a much lower penalty than for someone who has violated the law within the past 18 months or has a history of violations.

Personally, while working in the evenings, I have seen an uptick in dangerous and reckless behavior on the roads. Chances are that regular drivers see several near- collisions, and aggressive and egregious behavior, including road rage and chasing other vehicles.

The latest trend seems to be that stop signs and yellow lights are merely suggestions. I could have been killed as a pedestrian when a vehicle ran a red light, was hit on the driver’s side by a truck, and hit the telephone pole next to me. The fuel tank of the offending vehicle broke open and sprayed me with gasoline.

To avoid becoming subject to the cash cow, I recommend just obeying the law.

Robert J. Pollack, Bellmore

It is beyond belief that a woman described in your “Ticket bonanza” story was ticketed for failing to signal when entering a Long Island Expressway ramp, and then again when entering the highway itself. I can buy the first ticket, but the second was clearly a money raiser. I see very few people signal when merging onto the expressway. It is obvious where you are going because it is a merge.

My biggest complaint about the cameras is the issuance of tickets for failing to stop for several seconds when turning right on red. I know many safe drivers with clean records who have received such tickets. It was my understanding that the cameras were installed to reduce crashes at intersections, a commendable idea.

I also suggest the installation of countdown clocks at yellow lights to reduce rear-end collisions caused by drivers who stop in fear of getting a red-light camera ticket. I suspect the idea would be resisted by government because it might reduce revenue.

Joe Squerciati, Hicksville

Our municipalities could generate millions of dollars in income by assigning a task force to ticket vehicles illegally parked in spaces for handicapped drivers. I believe thousands of able-bodied people illegally use permits issued to others, which are expired or have been improperly secured with help from unscrupulous doctors.

I know of a healthy, athletic person who uses such a permit issued to a friend who died years ago. These should be better regulated. I see a potential source of much income, and maybe a lowering of my blood pressure as well.

Barbara Kern, Bethpage

I got a traffic-camera ticket for stopping with my front tires on the white line at Holbrook Road and Middle Country Road in Centereach. I went to Suffolk County traffic court in Hauppauge to state my case for stopping on the white line.

The judge lectured drivers on traffic lights and various laws (45 minutes), then concluded by letting us know that we were already guilty if we touched, stopped on or stopped over the white line. His mind appeared to be made up: Guilty! His people skills were surely in need of improvement.

One day, I counted 26 vehicles stopping at the same spot where I was ticketed. Eighteen of the 26 either stopped on or over the white line. Calling this a money-grabber is too kind. This is a scam that allows Suffolk County the freedom to continue to not operate within its budgetary restraints.

Jim Steigele Sr., Ronkonkoma

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