Malliotakis: Red Light Camera Program Must Comply With State Law

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island) has called on Mayor de Blasio to force the New York City red light camera program to comply with reporting requirements in accordance with state law. Recently, legislation to extend the program in NYC for an additional five years was passed by both the Senate and Assembly. Malliotakis opposed the passage of Assembly Bill 9834 due to the city’s lack of compliance and refusal to make compiled data available to the public. The Automobile Association of America (AAA), also joined Malliotakis in calling for New York City to release the data to the public.

According to state law, New York City, along with Rochester, Yonkers, Nassau County, and Suffolk County, must report certain data to evaluate the program’s efficacy. The required data includes the locations where cameras were placed, the number of violations at each intersection, and the number of crashes that occurred before and after camera installation. New York City has failed to report any information regarding these topics. The City has released injury data, justifying the skepticism that many Staten Islanders have for automated enforcement. The nine cameras installed in Richmond County between 2010 and 2011 (the most recent cameras for which limited data is available) produced an increase in motorist injuries at those intersections. There was no change to the number of injuries to pedestrians or bicyclists which, prior to the camera installations, was zero.

“Everyone sees that these red light cameras cause drivers to stop short, at times dangerously, to avoid receiving a violation and are often viewed as entrapment. We acknowledge the need to make our streets safer, but is this the proper way to do it? We don’t know the answer to this because, unlike all other localities that operate red light cameras, New York City hasn’t reported the number of crashes at each intersection. The people need and deserve to know where these cameras have been placed, how effective they’ve been, and whether they’re doing more harm than good. New York City has failed to keep up its end of the bargain and cannot be trusted to conduct this program any further,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis.

“With the City collecting tens of millions of dollars in revenue from drivers, transparency is key to assuring the public that the program is about safety, not revenue enhancement,” said John A. Corlett, Legislative Committee Chairman for AAA New York State. “We support properly administered red light cameras for their safety benefits, but the City has failed to produce quality reports, making it impossible to comprehensively assess the program’s effect on safety. The City is simply not rigorously analyzing the performance of its program, leading the public to believe it is more about the money. The City needs to get its act together to regain the trust of the public.”

(Letter from Assemblywoman Malliotakis to Mayor De blasio attached)