State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that the Senate has approved legislation that he sponsors that would permit the installation of 50 “red-light” cameras at “high-risk” intersections throughout Nassau County in an effort to improve traffic safety. The cameras would take digital images of the license plates of vehicles running red lights. The County would then mail a fine of up to $50 to the cars’ registered owners whenever a camera captures a violation.
“Drivers who run red lights cause higher speed, higher impact accidents, which put innocent lives at risk. ‘Red-light’ cameras have already been proven to dramatically reduce traffic accidents and if installed at Nassau County’s highest risk intersections, will help deter drivers from recklessly speeding through red lights, which will save lives and reduce injuries,” Senator Fuschillo said.
Accidents caused by vehicles that have run a red light are often the worst type of accident, involving speed and right-angle impacts which can result in severe injuries. The presence of “red-light” cameras has significantly reduced the number of accidents at other locations throughout the United States, including in New York City.
According to the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board, there were 46,332 crashes between 2000 and 2006 at the intersections where the County would install red light cameras under this legislation. These crashes resulted in 26,470 injuries and 124 fatalities. It is estimated that red light cameras would reduce fatalities by 25 percent.
In New York City, installation of “red-light” cameras has contributed to increased traffic safety at intersections. The City reported a 73 percent drop in violations between 1994, when cameras first were installed, and 2005. Additionally, the City reported a 41 percent reduction in collisions and 35 percent drop in vehicular fatalities. The state Legislature has judged New York City’s program to be a traffic safety success and recently doubled the number of intersections with cameras there from 50 to 100.
Other cities in the United States that already have red light cameras include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Senator Fuschillo first announced the Nassau County red-light initiative with County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi during a press conference in April 2007 at the intersection of Carmans Road and Louden Street. This intersection, at the entrance to the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, has been the site of 70 accidents between 2000 and 2005, 41 of which could have been prevented if motorist had not ignored the traffic signal. Some 53 injuries resulted from those 70 crashes.
The legislation (S.4296) now goes to the State Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Lavine.