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« Letter To Editor : St. James Fire District Bond Exposed Deep Divisions | Main | Letter To Editor: Zeldin Must Stand Up And Protect Long Island’s Health Care »

Letter To Editor : Red Light Cameras

SUBJECT: Red Light Cameras

To the editor:

As a health care professional I cannot understand the “controversy” over red light cameras.  “T-bone crashes” where one vehicle broadsides another is now the deadliest type of collision in the US representing about 13% of accidents but about 18% of fatal accidents resulting in 25-30% of total deaths. These are now more deadly than head-on or rear-end collisions due to airbag technology. When I returned to Long Island to join the faculty of medicine at Stony Brook in 1980 the dealiest interstection was SR’s 111 and 347 in Smithtown, despite the fact there was an emergency room on that corner in those days.  This was addressed by reconfiguring the intersection so that there were no left turns from 347 to 111 and creating exit lanes to 111.  This change dramatically reduced collisions and fatal collisions – a very expensive but effective remedy.

No one knows how many acidents or fatalities are prevented becaue of the deterent effect of the red light cameras, but the risk of tickets encourages people not to run red lights.  Are they responsible for more rear-collisions? Seems so.  But these are less deadly than broadside crashes.  Does that mean that they will prevent all accidents or deaths including pedestrian and bicycle tragedies.  Of course not, but certainly they reduce the potential.

We cannot “red light camera” every intersection, but we could have more active police on busy roads to discourgage dangerous driving.      


Thomas Biancaniello, MD

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