Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Why does Nassau County need red-light cameras?
Traffic studies show that red-light running is a problem at several intersections in Nassau County. The goal of the red-light camera program is to change driver behavior. Studies across the country prove that red-light camera programs are successful at reducing the number of red-light runners and increasing compliance with traffic laws, thus making roadways safer for all drivers and pedestrians.
What is considered running the red light?
Photographic evidence must show the car entering the intersection AFTER the light is already red. No tickets will be issued for vehicles entering the intersection on a green or yellow light, even if the vehicle is waiting for oncoming traffic to stop before completing a left-hand turn. ( Graphic of the process )
The VTL section 1111(d) 1 states that 'facing a steady red signal,..(traffic) shall stop before entering intersection....and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown'.
If you are passing through the intersection after the traffic signal turns red you are in violation.
If you have stopped and enter against the red light anticipating a green light you are in violation.
Anticipating a green light can lead to accidents just like going through a red light can (Driver unaware of green turning arrow).
Various ways to receive a Notice of Liability due to a Red Light Camera Violation:
CLICK HERE to view example videos of each of the above violations (opens in a new window)
- Left Turn while Traffic Signal is Red
- Going Straight through on a Red Light Signal
- Making a right on Red but failing to make a complete stop
- Blatant disregard for a red light
How many crashes are related to red-light running?
Traffic crashes are the single most significant cause of preventable death and injury in North America. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (http://www.iihs.org), as many as 171,000 crashes, 144,000 injuries and 887 fatalities were attributed to red-light running in the U.S. in 2006.
Public costs of these crashes exceed $14 billion per year. More than half of the deaths in red-light running crashes are other motorists and pedestrians. There is no doubt that red-light runners are dangerous drivers who irresponsibly put others at risk.
In performing traffic studies at the local intersections where Nassau County considered placing the camera systems, the County recorded a very high number of red-light running violations. Obviously, the more violations, the higher the risk to pedestrians and drivers of becoming victims of a red-light running related crash.
Unfortunately, a simple look at crash data does not easily identify the cause of collisions. Therefore, providing an exact number of red-light running related crashes separated from other collisions is extremely difficult to ascertain.
The County expects that once the program is running and since the County will now have evidence of red-light violations, the County will be able to provide an accurate number after the program has been operational for 12 months.
Isn’t this program about the County generating revenue?
No, this is a public safety program. Our goal is to reduce the number of red-light runners, thus decreasing the number of violations and their potential for crashes and injuries on our roadways.
It is true that violators will fund this red-light camera program in full and no tax dollars will be used. The program may generate revenue for the County in its early stages, but the County expects revenue to decrease as drivers improve their driving habits and begin following the law.
Aren’t cameras an invasion of privacy, Big Brother watching citizens of Nassau County?
Actually, no. Photos are taken only of vehicles breaking the law on public roads (not drivers). Motorists can avoid photo enforcement by not breaking the law. There already are cameras in nearly every retail store and bank and already in use on roadways for ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) traffic management.
Has the County lengthened or shortened the timing of yellow lights?
The goal is public safety. A yellow light that is too short OR one that is too long can increase the risk of crashes. Before any camera is operational, both the vendor and the County make sure the signal timing is compliant with federal guidelines.
Does Nassau County or ATS review and issue tickets?
The Traffic and Parking Violations Agency reviews and approves each violation and is the sole authority issuing the Notice of Liability.
Local authorities review the potential violation data forwarded by ATS including violation images and video, license plate image, and vehicle owner registration information.
What is the review process?
Nassau County’s Traffic and Parking Violations Agency reviews all possible violations. Using ATS’ violation processing application, certifying agents watch the video of a vehicle running the red light and view the photos showing the light illuminated red both before and after the vehicle enters the intersection. If an agency employee determines the vehicle ran the red light, the employee verifies that the license plate matches the vehicle and all information is correct before issuing the notice of liability.
Don’t red-light cameras increase rear-end crashes?
Studies and community testimonials show that most communities see no change in the number of rear-end collisions, while many communities have even witnessed a decrease. Across the U.S., some communities have seen an increase in rear-end collisions; however, many of these same communities report a decrease in this type of crash about six months later, when driver behavior changes and motorists no longer expect the car in front of them to run the red light.
It’s also important to note that even in those rare cases when rear-end crashes increase, the number of T-bone crashes significantly decrease. Injuries decrease and lives are saved because T-bone crashes cause significant injuries compared to rear-end fender-benders.
If you represent a Rental Car Company: send a copy of the rental lease identifying the driver within thirty (30) days of the Issue Date along with the copy of notice you received to: Nassau County, TPVA, Red Light Camera Division, P.O. Box 59995, Phoenix, AZ 85076-9995.
Questions: If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact Customer Service toll free at 1-866-790-4111 from 8:00 AM–5:00PM EST.