Latest Red Light Camera News

Been a while since my last update as not too much has changed on the red light camera front. Newsday had an article last week about the cameras with some interesting info:

  • Elene Contegiacomo from New Hyde Park has beaten a red light camera by proving that the car that ran the light was not hers (she was nearby and the offending car was nearly identical to hers)
  • Yellow light durations are not expected to change
  • Rear-end collisions have dropped in 40 of the 50 intersections in Nassau County with red light cameras

That last one is interesting, there are a lot of discussions about red light cameras causing an increase in rear-end collisions because people slam on the brakes to avoid getting a ticket. For example this 2005 review by the Federal Highway Administration notes difficulty with putting together an accurate study, but says:

The bulk of the results appear to support a conclusion that red light cameras reduce right-angle crashes and could increase rear end crashes

I almost got rear-ended a few months ago for that exact reason. Anyway these numbers seem to show that the opposite effect is taking place in Nassau.

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Nassau Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents

Nassau County’s report on their red light camera numbers shows that, overall, accidents have been reduced at intersections with cameras (Newsday article here). The only exception was the entrance to Roosevelt Field mall, where accidents went up.

I’m not a big fan of the cameras but I can’t argue with them if they’re proven to reduce accidents, which seems to be the case. I bet this means more cameras are in our future, just a matter of time.

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Roosevelt Field mall Camera: Accidents Went Up

Nassau County reported some numbers on their red light camera program, which Newsday published a couple of articles about, including this one. Turns out the camera at Old Country Road and Ring Road has generated the most tickets in the whole county, by far, however accidents at the intersection actually went up 86 percent! I wonder if they’ll take the camera down now since obviously it hasn’t had the safety impact they hoped for. Check out these numbers, quoted from Newsday:

Cameras at the location produced 34,709 tickets in 2010 — nearly 100 a day — dwarfing the number generated at all other county intersections with cameras. At $50 a ticket, that works out to $1.7 million in potential collections from that one spot.

One hundred tickets a day – unbelievable!

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Added a Garden City Red Light Camera

Someone sent in a Nassau camera I was missing – Old Country Road and Ring Road North (the entrance to Roosevelt Field mall). I also have one listed right next to that entrance at Old Country Road and Clinton Road, looks like that area is heavily guarded!

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Confirmed: There is no Three Second Rule

Some of you may have read the discussion here about a possible three second rule applying to making a right on red. Someone had written into Newsday saying they got a ticket for making a right on red even though they made a complete stop, and Nassau told them they had to stop for three seconds.

Newsday looked into it and received confirmation that there’s no such rule, so just stick with a complete stop and you should be fine.

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Newsday Editorial Supports More Cameras

Newsday had an editorial today supporting more cameras in Suffolk and Nassau. As many of you know, both counties have been limited by the state to 50 intersections with cameras. Both would like to increase the number of cameras but they were shot down this year because it was too obvious that the cameras were for revenue instead of safety.

It’s hard to argue against them when the statistics show that intersections are made safer after red light cameras are added. Whether it’s about revenue or not if dangerous accidents are being prevented, that’s a good thing. There seems to be some debate about that though, I’ve read many articles saying they trade dangerous accidents for fender benders (people don’t blow the light and T-bone each other anymore, but instead they slam on the brakes to avoid getting a ticket and get rear-ended). I’ve also read many articles saying they have no impact on safety. I’ve also heard that safety was increased drastically (somewhere in Texas I believe?) simply by increasing the yellow light duration. Maybe it’s different everywhere depending on the type of people in the area, and that’s why the studies have different results.

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Suffolk Red Light Revenue Split with Dallas Company

Some interesting info in a Newsday article from August 15th, Suffolk splits the revenue from it’s red light camera program 50/50 with a Dallas company that processes the tickets, and some residents are pissed about it. State and Local Solutions of Dallas apparently handles the ticket processing. Suffolk had the option of going with a flat rate (like Nassau) or splitting the revenue, and they chose to split. Nassau is paying a flat rate of about $9 million, and they made $20 million in revenue. Now Levy’s aides say Suffolk wants to renegotiate for a more favorable split, and possibly move some cameras (to improve safety and revenue). The moving cameras part probably means that some of the cameras aren’t bringing in as much revenue as expected so they want to try different (busier) intersections.

Also noteworthy is that Suffolk projected the cameras would generate $20 million in revenue, but they only generated $10 million.

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Mayor Bloomberg Suggests Adding Dummy Cameras

I know it isn’t Nassau/Suffolk but some of you may be interested, I hear that in NYC they’re considering adding dummy cameras as a deterrent. Mayor Bloomberg wants cameras on every corner, but he wasn’t permitted to by the state. So he suggested adding cameras anyway, but only using as many as they’re permitted to use, the others will just be dummies and no one will know which is which. I wouldn’t be surprised if Suffolk and Nassau followed suit. Then eventually they’ll all convince Albany to let them use the dummies too.

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Back from summer vacation, a lot has happened

I took some time off this summer, sorry about the lack of updates! Hope you’ve all had a good summer. There’s been some buzz about red light cameras over the last few weeks while I was taking a break, so I’ll be posting some quick updates over the next few minutes.

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The GPS File Has Been Updated

FYI for anyone who didn’t notice the comment thread a week or so ago – someone let me know that the downloadable red light camera GPS file (.gpx) wasn’t working due to an error on line 17. I fixed the error and confirmed that it works on my wife’s GPS (garmin) using their free POI loader.

A friend of mine had a good idea to import the cameras to his GPS and those of his coworkers, all of whom drive to different locations throughout the island every day. Not a bad idea if you’re on the road a lot!

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