Suffolk officials debate extending red light camera program

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Next week, lawmakers are expected to vote on whether the county will extend its red light camera program beyond 2019.

Officials held a hearing Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Representatives from L.K. McLean Associates presented a countywide Suffolk County Red Light Camera Program report. The review found that between 2015 and 2017, there were 17 fatal crashes at red light intersections, a total slightly below the projected number. The number of crashes involving a fatality or an injury was nearly 11% less than projections. But at red light camera intersections in total, the number of crashes exceeded projections by 42%. Crashes involving just property damage beat projections by 78%, including a more than 46% increase in the number of rear-end crashes.

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The report recommends that the Suffolk County Legislature continue the red light camera program, citing the decrease in crashes that resulted in fatalities or serious injuries. But some lawmakers are questioning that recommendation, and others are expressing concerns about the process by which this report was completed.

Legislator Rob Trotta also asked why the firm didn't include the number of fatal accidents at intersections that do not have red light cameras, to compare and contrast the two scenarios.

A committee is set to vote Thursday on whether or the county will extend its contract with the vendor that operates the cameras.

A vote of the full Legislature is expected to take place next Wednesday.

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