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New York, NY - Lawsuit; City Rigging Red Light Cameras

Published on: December 5, 2012 06:20 PM
By: AP
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New York, NY - Three drivers who were caught by New York City’s red-light cameras filed a lawsuit Wednesday blaming too-short yellow lights for their tickets.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court charges that the yellow lights lasted less than the three seconds mandated by federal guidelines, an accusation the city denied.

“It seems like it’s a bit of a sham the way the lights are calibrated,” plaintiff Brian Hughes, of Cherry Hill, N.J., said in a telephone interview.

Hughes said he was snapped by one of the cameras in Manhattan in October 2010 as he was driving from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

“It was a yellow light when I went through,” he said. “I suppose it changed to red at some point when I was in the intersection and the camera caught me.”

The complaint says the city operates 318 red-light cameras and the program has generated $235 million in revenue since 2007 — $47.2 million in 2011 alone.


The suit cites a study by AAA that found four red-light camera intersections where the yellow lights lasted 2.53 to 2.84 seconds.

City Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow said the lights are all properly timed. The signals provide a minimum of three seconds of yellow light, and red-light cameras take pictures 0.3 seconds after the light has turned red, he said.

The lawsuit filed by Hughes and fellow motorists Charles Luceno and Richard Marks seeks refunds of all improperly collected tickets.

It also seeks a halt to the red-light camera program “until the program complies with New York state and federal laws, rules and regulations with respect to the minimum duration of yellow light traffic signals.”

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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »


 Dec 05, 2012 at 07:21 PM pbalaw Says:

I'm not surprised


 Dec 05, 2012 at 08:24 PM Butterfly Says:

We have these short lights all over Brooklyn!! It changes when you are in the middle of the road so that you have to RACE across!! If you are an old man or an old lady -- you did not make it!!


 Dec 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM Anonymous Says:

do what los angeles did - someone sued saying cameras violate privacy so the whole program was terminated! tickets were as high as $500!


 Dec 06, 2012 at 07:04 AM Butterfly Says:

Los Angeles is different. You have to stop if you see a pedestrian and let them cross the street. In Fairfax County and Beverley Hills at least. I think it is all of L.A. Please check it out.


 Dec 06, 2012 at 08:11 AM savtat Says:

Red light camera on Rockaway Blvd. And Brookville Rd has a 40 mph speed limit yet the yellow light lasts only 2 seconds. You cannot know where in thecycle the light is as you approach it. Totally a trap.


 Dec 06, 2012 at 09:03 AM Ex-NYC driver Says:

To #4-Butterfly- Are you implying that in NYC, one DOES NOT have to stop and yield to a pedestrian? The law in every state and every municipality mandates that pedestrians have the right of way, and automobiles must yield to them. Regarding these drivers who are whining about the red light cameras, New Yorkers are notorious for shooting throughf intersections, whether a stop sign, or a red light exists. One time, while driving through Brooklyn, a light was in the process of changing to red, as the yellow light came on. As I started braking, a driver in back of me began blasting his horn, as he didn't want me to stop for the light! This is typical of the mentality of many drivers in NYC.


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