Two cameras designed to catch drivers running red lights are monitoring the intersection of East Jericho Turnpike and Pidgeon Hill Road in Huntington Station.
Drivers caught ignoring the red lights while driving in either direction on Jericho could end up with a $50 fine. The two cameras are trained on Jericho Turnpike, not intersecting roads.
The intersection is one of many state-owned and maintained traffic signals in Suffolk County that have red light cameras. The Huntington Station cameras have been operating for more than two months.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 165,000 people are injured every year by red light runners – and they aren't limited to the violators. "Half of the people killed in red-light running crashes are pedestrians and other drivers," said a spokesman for the New York State DOT at a recent Traffic Safety Board Meeting in Brookhaven.
"In general we are supportive of red light camera programs as long as they are done fairly and correctly, not used simply as a revenue tool," said Christopher McBride, AAA New York Community transportation specialist. "They should be located at high-crash intersections and timing should be set to the proper standards."
According to the AAA, New York City set some of its yellow signals for a shorter time than what is recommended by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a professional organization that sets engineering guidelines.
"They are not legally required to, but it is an industry standard. Disregarding it could lead to more rear-end collisions," said McBride.
He added that Nassau and Suffolk follow those guidelines.
The Federal Highway Administration studied similar red-light programs in seven cities in 2005 and found that rear-end collisions increased by 15 percent and right-angle crashes decreased by 25 percent after they were installed.
The study also showed a "positive aggregate economic benefit" of more than $18.5 million in the seven communities studied.
In Suffolk County, red light camera violations are reviewed by a county employee and violations are issued by the Suffolk County Attorney's Office. The county contract was awarded to ACS State and County Solutions of Fairfax, Va., a division of Xerox, which installed the red light cameras with Hinck Electrical Contractor, Inc. of Bohemia.
Signs reading "photo enforced" appear about 50 feet from the intersection as required under the county agreement with New York State.The two cameras are about 30 feet in either direction from the intersection.
McBride of the AAA said, "People should be fully informed so they can be especially careful at that intersection."
Suffolk County has set up a website for drivers who have been ticketed.
Correction: Due to an editing error, this story originally reported that there appeared to be no signs alerting drivers to the Jericho Turnpike cameras but they are posted, about 50 feet from the intersection, on both sides of the road.