Over the past five years the city has been adding more and more red-light cameras to our intersections. We're up to 150 of them in the city now, and that number could go up again. The Daily News got ahold of records that shows that the cameras—which auto ticket drivers who blow through reds without needing a cop on hand—are turning into a steady cash cow for the state and Albany wants more.
In 2009 those red-light cameras pulled in $37.2 million, according to Department of Transportation records. And last year that number jumped dramatically to $52 million, thanks to over one million of those little $50 summonses being issued. Also helping? In 2009 the state Legislature approved 50 additional cameras (bringing the city to its current total of 150).
Now there is apparently pressure to add another 40 cameras to the streets. And while the money is a strong incentive, proponents also point out that the cameras have proven to be an effective deterrent of dangerous driving. When cameras are first installed the number of tickets issued jumps, but once drivers get used to them the number of infractions often plummet. In 2007, for instance, the city issued 950,000 tickets. The number of auto-produced tickets didn't again approach that number again until last year, after the addition of new cameras.
Does 150 active red-light cameras seem a little low considering how many of them you seem to see on the streets? Good eyes! The DOT doesn't just put up active cameras at busy intersections, they also put up dummy cameras that flash at illegal drivers—but don't take pictures. So where are all these things? If you are a driver who just loves to flaunt the law, perhaps this Google Map with all of them and which direction they are facing will be helpful?