In this way New Yorkers are like just about everyone else in America: They hate red light cameras.

They hate them so much, in fact, that they regularly write their local newspapers complaining about the machines, complain to the police departments and complain to the city government officials who have paid to have them installed. All of this complaining has fallen on deaf ears however, because the city plans to install another couple dozen of the infernal machines this coming year.

To be fair, they are not red light cameras, or “gotcha cameras” or infernal machines. They are technically referred to as automated enforcement technology systems and as of today they are being used in nearly two dozen states around the nation. While being widely despised by drivers they have generated millions of dollars in revenue for the communities in which they are installed, without requiring the need for additional police patrols or radar guns. The camera does all the work, snapping a picture of the license plate of any vehicle which crosses through the intersection after the light has changed against them. The ensuing ticket is sent automatically and the fine is usually about $50.

In New York the cameras have been at work in Yonkers where motorists have already spotted them at Odell and Nepperhan Avenue and Central Park Avenue. Believe it or not the cameras serve a purpose other than generating money from citations: They help ensure public safety.

Defensive driving New York is hardly a recreational sport. It’s a serious business. With literally millions of cars on the road, drivers need to use the utmost caution getting from point A to point B. If an automated enforcement technology system can help to make a specific intersection a little bit safety, you can bet the city government is going to go for it. And so are a lot of NY defensive drivers who care about safety.

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