The evidence coming out of Nassau and Suffolk counties makes it clear that red-light cameras work. They reduce the number of people who run stoplights and, in general, make driving safer where they're deployed. They're also raising badly needed revenue.
This week Nassau County reported that accidents at intersections where its cameras have been in place long enough to gather good data are down 12 percent to 15 percent. In Suffolk, officials say cameras are reducing the number of red lights run enough that they're considering moving them to monitor new intersections. These statistics should go far to silence the unfounded claims that the cameras actually cause accidents.
The programs are not perfect. In Nassau, one camera-monitored intersection, at the entrance to Roosevelt Field mall in East Garden City, has seen a big increase in accidents, apparently because of confusing signage. Officials say they believe they have fixed the problem. In Suffolk, the deal with the vendor that runs the cameras isn't as financially beneficial to the county as it should be.
Still, overall, each county's 50 cameras are doing just what they should. In fact, both counties need additional cameras and have requested permission from Albany to install them at 50 more intersections. The Assembly balked, mostly due to political gamesmanship. But the counties need that permission, because they need the cameras. The revenue is good, but the safer driving is even better. hN