Official proposes bill to study red-light cams at certain locations

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SMITHTOWN -

Some Suffolk officials are questioning whether red-light cameras are causing more crashes at certain intersections.

Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) demanded answers from Paul Margiotta, the head of Suffolk's Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, during a committee meeting Thursday. He says the recent county reports on the number of accidents at certain red-light camera locations are showing major problems, especially Route 109 and Great East Neck Road in West Babylon.

"It's gone up from one accident with an injury in 2014 to 11 in 2015. Do you think we should be taking a look at that intersection?" McCaffrey asked Margiotta. 

Margiotta responded that he does believe the intersection should be looked at. He also maintained that the program is about safety and not a money grab by the county. Margiotta says decisions about the placement of cameras are made by the county Department of Public Works. 

The DPW commissioner says they are following up on the calls for further study and analysis. He also said that a national study shows that red-light camera programs are proven to reduce serious accidents involving injuries or fatalities.

AAA Northeast says while the red-light camera program is a good one, a second look needs to be taken at certain intersections where crashes have significantly gone up. 

McCaffrey has introduced a bill to suspend the program while there is a complete safety study performed. A public hearing on the bill is set for next Wednesday.

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