3 Drivers Forced To Pay Up, Now Say They Were Set Up In City Money Grab
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Red-light cameras are gaining popularity across the country. Now, New York City is being sued after it was accused of rigging the lights to catch more drivers and write more tickets.
They’re “gotcha” cameras, mounted at intersections. Their photos catch and fine drivers running red lights. New York City first had them in 1998.
“Red-light cameras are to prevent the very dangerous, so called ‘T-bone’ crashes, where you have the front of vehicle running into the side of another. We are in favor, in concept, of the red-light cameras, but they have to be done to certain engineering criteria,” AAA New York spokesperson Robert Sinclair told CBS 2′s Rob Morrison on Tuesday.
By federal law, drivers have to have enough time to get through a yellow light — three seconds at the typical 30 mph intersection. Back in October, engineers at AAA New York discovered a problem. At some intersections with the cameras, the yellow lights were almost a half-second too fast.
Red-light violators who later had to pay up now say they feel set up.
“If you’re timing them too short, then it just becomes a revenue enhancement tool and it erodes support for the program,” Sinclair said.