Bill aims to pump brakes on Suffolk's red-light camera program

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WEST BABYLON -

Suffolk County is weighing a decision on whether to end its red-light camera program.

For Lindenhurst resident Beth Apollo, the red-light cameras found at intersections countywide are nothing but a cash grab that could cause more harm than good.

"I know a lot of times people will stop short, and it can be dangerous," she says.

That's why Legislator Kevin McCaffrey says he's calling for a top-to-bottom review of the program. The Republican has introduced a bill that would put the brakes on the red-light cameras, unless the county Department of Public Works can prepare a report on how effective they are by Jan. 1.

"The point of this bill is to hold people's feet to the fire and show that this is about safety and not being a money grab," McCaffrey says.

McCaffrey says close to half of the intersections in Suffolk with red-light cameras have actually seen an increase in the number of collisions with injuries.

Supporters of the program say the cameras are changing drivers' behavior and saving lives. But when the issue was discussed at a legislative meeting Wednesday afternoon in Riverhead, most residents backed McCaffrey's proposal.

The county Legislature's Public Works Committee is expected to vote on the measure Sept. 25. If the bill passes that vote, it will go before the full Legislature at its next meeting.

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