Don’t complain about tickets if you run red lights, Bloomberg says

A traffic light in Midtown. (Dave Kliman via Flickr)
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Radio show host John Gambling was watching television recently when he came across a news segment featuring drivers complaining about red-light cameras.

He talked about the segment this morning with his co-host, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who promptly took exception to the notion that there was anything to complain about.

"Going through a red light kills people," said Bloomberg.

New York City has 150 cameras that photograph traffic scofflaws, who then get tickets.

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Bloomberg would like to install more, but that requires approval from Albany, which hasn't been all that forthcoming with this sort of technology.

The cameras have also sparked opposition among some drivers, and their lobbying group, the AAA, which argues that the red light cameras ticket drivers unfairly.

"I don't understand where the reporters come from, and the editors that decide these things" said Gambling today, referring back to that TV news segment he saw.

"Because they're trying to make a story, because it got you talking about it," said Bloomberg. "They were successful. That's their job. It's not to inform. It's to get you to watch and talk about it, and that sort of thing. ...The elderly and the infirm are the ones who get killed crossing because they can't hear, and don't react as well and don't react as quickly. And, I don't have any sympathy for somebody that gets a ticket."

"The truth is 150 cameras is not a lot because there are 12,000 or more intersections in the city," said Juan Martinez, the general counsel for Transportation Alternatives, adding, "Red light cameras have saved hundreds of lives in New York City."