According to city officials, the biggest hit in The Big Apple is not a
The NYC Department of Transportation claims that red-light cameras have
increased safety, citing a
16 percent decline in injury accidents where cameras are in effect, including a 44 percent
decrease in pedestrian injuries and a 56 percent drop in "serious"
injuries. The DOT also claims that all the cameras are yellow-light calibrated
to three seconds, "which is consistent with national guidelines."
The city does not identify red-light cameras, because it has more "dummy"
cameras in place than live cameras, to increase the deterrent effect.
New York City officials also denied that their red-light cameras are a
revenue-producing tool. That may be true, because unless the violation
happens in a school zone, the normal fine is only $50. In contrast, a
red-light camera ticket in California costs $490, making The Golden State
the most expensive place to get one of these citations.
The DOT may have cherry-picked the accident statistics. Last year, a study
in Florida revealed that red-light cameras
increased the number of accidents. The researchers concluded that safety results on a nationwide basis were,
at best, "inconclusive."
One plus one is two. The answer always has been, and always will be, two.
Given the high cost of a red-light ticket in Bakersfield and the negligible
effect on driver safety, the answer to the revenue vs. safety question
seems quite clear.