Will New York City “Get the Picture” about Traffic Cameras?

It appears that at least some jurisdictions are getting the message: speeding and red light cameras are more trouble then they are worth.

Speeding cameras in school zones, as well as red light cameras, which we will collectively refer to as “cameras,” were placed in both New Jersey and New York with the stated goal of increasing pubic safety. In NY, these cameras coincided with the passage of Vision Zero.  It is hard to deny that there is a significant problem with injuries due to traffic violations. Whether these cameras were the best method to fight this problem was hotly contested.

Red light camera
Red light cameras, such as this one, are being phased out by many communities. (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

There were two primary issues surrounding these cameras. First, drivers felt as if they were tricked into paying these fines – and essentially being used as ‘cash cows.’ School zone cameras were often placed in areas that were not frequented by school children. Tickets were also given during non-school hours. Additionally, speed limit signs were either difficult to see, or were completely absent. Cameras were also placed in areas without any reports of speed related incidents. Motorists believed that these cameras were simply used to generate revenue for the towns.

The next issue was whether these cameras actually functioned as intended. It was admitted that these cameras were not entirely accurate. Nassau County, for example, forgave $2.4 Million in speed camera fines due to technical glitches.

Even when the cameras did function properly, it appears they caused more harm then good.  The Mayor of Brick, NJ, for example, shut down three cameras because accidents actually increased when they were in use. According to an NJ.com report, the NJ State DOT’s own data admitted that red light cameras did not reduce the number of crashes.

Last Tuesday the New Jersey red light camera program officially ended with no signs of lawmakers renewing it. The night before, Nassau County voted to eliminate speed cameras in school zones.

While it is promising that some jurisdictions are removing these problematic and apparently counter-productive devices, others jurisdictions are not taking such action. In fact, New York City shows no signs at all of backing away from utilizing traffic cameras.

The reduction in cameras will likely mean more actual police enforcement. If you are issued a traffic citation, call The Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-434-0406 for a free consultation.