A speed-camera program in one Long Island county issued almost 40,000 tickets over the past month. They're all being expunged.
The goal of speed cameras should be to improve safety and change driver behavior, not to make motorists feel like they're being ripped off.
A malfunction with the cameras caused them to cite motorists who didn't deserve the citations, according to Edward Mangano, Nassau County's top executive. As a result, the county plans to dismiss more than $2.4-million worth of tickets. Motorists who already have paid their citations will receive refunds.
"I don't have a high confidence level that the cameras were operating at statutory levels," Mangano tells Newsday. "So we are declaring amnesty with all tickets issued this summer."
Six cameras responsible for the improper citations are located in school zones. Problems arose because the speed limit changes between 25 miles per hour and 40 mph, depending on whether the schools are in session. In some cases, motorists simply were not aware summer school was in session. In others, the cameras recorded violations at incorrect times.
Doreen Delatch of Bethpage, NY, told WABC-TV she received 11 tickets from the cameras, and that they all arrived in her mailbox on the same day earlier this month. Until then, she had no idea the speed cameras even existed.
That's not how speed-camera enforcement should work, according to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. He told Autoblog they should be well-marked and well publicized. The goal of speed cameras should be to improve safety and change driver behavior, not to make motorists feel like they're being ripped off.
Nassau County's program is expected to generate $25 million in revenue on an annual basis, according to Newsday. Local municipalities will receive a share of that revenue for citations issued within their borders. American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the county's speed cameras, will receive 38 percent of all fines and penalties collected.
American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the county's speed cameras, will receive 38 percent of all fines and penalties collected.
These problems on Long Island are the latest in a string of recent glitches for traffic-enforcement cameras. Last week, New Jersey dismissed approximately 17,000 alleged infractions because a glitch in the system never informed the motorists of pending violations.
Last month, the Chicago Tribune revealed dozens of anomalies in the number of tickets generated by individual cameras throughout the city that occurred at seemingly random times. The unexplained spikes resulted in thousands of undeserved $100 tickets. They city had fought to withhold the public data from reporters who discovered the anomalies.
And last week, the ex-CEO of RedFlex, the company that ran Chicago's red-light cameras, was indicted on federal corruption charges. Prosecutors allege Karen Finley bribed a city transportation official who swayed approximately $124 million in contracts toward the company.