New York to employ dummy cameras
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Advertiser Staff and News Services
Like Hawai'i, New York City is having problems with its traffic photo enforcement program at its legislature. So New York is resorting to a bit of trickery to fool drivers.
Last year, New York City lobbied the legislature for authorization to install more functioning red-light cameras beyond its current 50. But the state Assembly blocked the bill, with opponents citing privacy concerns and the surging use of police surveillance cameras statewide.
So now New York is moving to put up 200 fake ones instead.
If the ruse works, motorists assume they will receive a summons in the mail, prompting many to drive more carefully. But the ticket never arrives.
"It's like a shell game," said John Kaehny, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a pedestrian-safety group, referring to extensive use of dummy cameras in London and Toronto. "They move the cameras around between the different locations so that motorists never know which one is a dummy and which one is real."
The fake cameras, unlike real ones, need no state approval. Though officials would not reveal their estimated cost, citing the solicitation of bids now under way, the dummies are considerably cheaper than the real cameras, which cost $58,000.
New York was the first city to install red-light cameras, in 1993. Since then, officials said, the devices have resulted in more than 1 million traffic violation summonses.
Hawai'i's plan to use cameras to catch red-light-running drivers at more than a dozen intersections is on hold while engineers try to work out technical problems, the state Transportation Department said yesterday.