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New York City Says Cameras Are Good

NYC Says Cameras Are GoodAccording to city officials, the biggest hit in The Big Apple is not a Broadway musical.

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.