Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Cameras generate revenue and controversy

Law enforcement utilizes many different ways to identify New York drivers that violate traffic laws. Motorcycle officers and officers in other vehicles can be positioned at key locations to watch specifically for traffic violations. Traffic tickets can result in fines and points on a license or even a license suspension depending upon the circumstances.

Red light cameras are yet another way that law enforcement tries to catch people who break the laws when driving. These cameras can capture on film the violating action and issue citations. Corresponding fees are also payable by the fined drivers. Nassau County installed its first red light camera in 2009 and currently has at least 57 such cameras in use. In 2010, the cameras generated $14.9 million dollars in revenue and in 2011, that figure jumped to $26.1 million.

Between 2011 and 2012, the revenue from red light cameras in Nassau County declined by 12 percent to $22.9 million. Along with the money generated for the local government, a new report indicates that accidents at intersections with active cameras have dropped a total of 18 percent since the program began. While some herald this as proof that cameras improve safety, others believe the cameras are just a way for the government to make money from frequently minor infractions. Rolling stops, for example, garner a $50 fine plus a $30 administrative fee on top of that.

Drivers who receive tickets from these cameras can face the same insurance surcharges or other consequences as drivers ticketed by actual officers. Talking to an attorney about how to fight such a ticket can be a good idea for any driver.

Source: Newsday, “Red light camera revenue dropped from 2011-2012, Nassau report shows,” Robert Brodsky, May 18, 2014

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