Republican county legislators and political candidates, in September, pushed for a suspension of Suffolk County’s red-light camera program, saying safety data is skewed because it doesn’t include pedestrian and bicycle accidents. County lawmakers Rob Trotta, Leslie Kennedy and Tom Muratore, along with four GOP legislative candidates, held a news conference at an intersection where a pedestrian and bicycle death have occurred. They were joined by John Luke, whose son, John, 16, was killed in 2015 walking across the road there.
The red-light camera program generates $32 million in ticket fines for Suffolk County each year. Jason Elan, spokesman for Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone, said Trotta, “should be ashamed of himself for lying to the public just to score political points.”
He said the latest traffic report issued in July showed accidents with injuries decreased overall by 5% in 2015. The report also said accidents increased at 46 of 100 red-light camera intersections and rear end collisions rose by 30%. Elan conceded that accidents involving pedestrians and bikers were dropped from the reports after 2013. Officials said that if auto accidents involved pedestrians or bikes they would be included in total injury tallies.
The news conference followed public hearings in September on a proposal by Legis. Kevin McCaffrey, the minority leader, to suspend the camera program Jan. 1, and give Suffolk 120 days to review it.
Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mt. Sinai) has filed an alternative proposal for an “internal review” while the program continues. The review, which would examine the causes of increased accidents at certain locations and suggest improvements, would be due within six months.