Legislation to install red light cameras at up to 50 high-risk intersections throughout Nassau County recently passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly.
In the new law, cameras installed at the intersections 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.
According to Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, the intersections were chosen based on accident rates and also both streets of the intersection had to be county roads. "Therefore, for example you will not see any on Jericho Turnpike," said Jacobs.
Jacobs said this initiative is very important for Nassau County. " It has been proven to be an effective tool for drivers to be made aware of the dangers of passing yellow or red lights," she said. "Hopefully this will go a long way to insure the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the County."
Included on the list, which is not yet finalized, are the intersections along Old Country Road and South Oyster Bay Road, Levittown Parkway, Jerusalem Avenue and Division Avenue.
Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine, who sponsored the Senate bill, said he is pleased the Red Light Camera Bill passed for both financial and safety reasons.
"Protecting our citizens' lives and safety is government's first responsibility," said Lavine. "Drivers who run red lights in Nassau County pose a serious danger. Because photo monitoring has reduced the threat of red light running in other municipalities, I have long pushed for the installation of these lifesaving devices. The revenue the cameras will provide will also help Nassau County's current fiscal crisis."
New York City is the only municipality in the state that has Albany's permission to install red light cameras - and the results have been dramatic. The city reported a 73 percent drop in violations between 1994, when the cameras first went up, and 2005. Additionally, the city reported a 41 percent reduction in collisions and 35 percent drop in vehicular fatalities.
"I supported the red light cameras because they will make our roads safer," said state Senator Carl Marcellino. "Running a red light can have deadly consequences and our police officers cannot catch everyone that makes a choice of speed over safety. These cameras can reduce accidents, slow down dangerous drivers and possibly save a life. Any tool that helps enforce the law is good idea."