Class action lawsuits over red light cameras The law firm of Parker Waichman LLP is pursuing class action lawsuits over red light cameras in New York City. We believe that these cameras may be reducing the amount of time drivers have to make it through yellow traffic lights at certain New York City intersections. The increase in so-called “gotcha” cameras has been tied to an increase in the number of tickets being issued at these lights, according to a study on the matter. Many believe that the lights have been geared to minimize the amount of time drivers have to get through these intersections, which may be leading to an increase in the number of tickets being issued, raising City revenue.
Surveys Find Camera Traffic Lights Have Reduced Yellow Timing
Citing some recent surveys, The New York Post has learned that AAA New York discovered that intersections outfitted with red light cameras have yellow lights that are shorter than traditional, non-camera traffic signals by some 15 percent. According to a spokesman with AAA, the lights are meant to increase safety at these intersections, not revenues, yet revenues are on the rise.
New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) also indicated that the standard time for which it sets its yellow lights is approximately one second for each 10 miles per hour (mph) of speed limit, which is about three seconds for a 30 mph intersection. Meanwhile, according to the NY Post report, the AAA engineers discovered that New York City’s camera-outfitted yellow lights timed in as short as 2.53 seconds, which the media outlet indicated that it had confirmed. Some see the red-light cameras as unfair, as set up in this way so that increased revenue may be realized.
According to New York City’s DOT, the Red Light Camera Program utilizes technology that takes high-resolution photographs of vehicles that go through red lights, which includes close-up photographs of the license plates. Summonses are then issued to the owners of these vehicles, which include the photographs captured. New York was the first city nationwide to utilize the cameras, following a 1998 approval by the state Legislature. Since, in excess of 6 million citations have been issued, according to the NY Post, citing city statistics.
Well over 100 intersections have been outfitted with nearly 200 red light cameras citywide, leading to more than $235 million in city revenues over a five-year period, according to the NY Post. Meanwhile, in New York City, state law does allow for a certain number of dummy cameras to be installed in its boroughs, according to a The New York Times report.
Agency Plans to Fight Red Light Expansion
Mayor Bloomberg long sought an increase in the number of intersections outfitted with operational cameras during his term, saying safety, not cash, was the goal of these lights, according to the NY Post report. When asked about the AAA’s findings that the cameras appear to have shortened yellow light times, a New York City DOT spokeswoman told the NY Post that no legal requirement governs how long a yellow signal must be, stating that the DOT’s lights provide enough time—an minimum of three seconds—for a motorist traveling the speed limit to stop. The AAA indicated that it planned to use its findings to oppose the program’s expansion and to push for the state Legislature to put timing guidelines in place for intersections outfitted with the cameras.