In these tough economic times, several major U.S. cities have found a new cash cow: Red light cameras that are bringing in big bucks every time they film a traffic violation.
In fact, our very own New York City has found that red light cameras are a big source of extra income. How big? Last year, the city nabbed more than $52 million in fines, according to a recent story in the New York Daily News.
The cameras, mounted at busy intersections, routinely film motorists as they are running red lights. In fact, there are now 150 red light cameras in our fair city.
City officials say that revenue isn't the main reason for the red light cameras. They say, instead, that they are concerned about safety.
"People who run red lights can kill people," said City Council Member James Vacca (D-Bronx), the chairperson of the Council's Transportation Committee. "These cameras go a long way towards making this a safer city."
Last year, the red light cameras resulted in more than 1.05 million summonses. The revenue that these summonses generated - $52.7 million - was up from $15.5 million in 2009, when New York City employed just 100 cameras.
City politicians say that they hope the red light cameras will persuade motorists to stop at red lights, meaning if they fear getting a costly ticket, they might be more likely to obey the law.
Next time you're driving in New York City, or if you're motoring around any major city, be careful at busy intersections. You never know when a red light camera might be monitoring your every move.
Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...
A ticket for a traffic violation can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.
Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New York Daily News "Red-light cameras throughout NYC are bringing in $52 million, major cash from speedy city drivers" Aug. 22, 2011