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February 22, 2024
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NYC DOT Advocates for Renewal, Expansion of Red-Light Camera Program to Curb Deadly Uptick in Red-Light Running

State legislation would renew and expand the city’s red light camera program

Second bill would crack down on reckless drivers regularly running red lights

NEW YORK — New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez joined advocates and elected officials to advocate for the passage of legislation to renew the city’s 30-year-old red light camera program and expand the authority to operate the program beyond the current 150 intersections, or less than 1 percent of signalized intersections in the city. The advocacy comes as the first-in-the-nation program is set to expire this year and as the city experiences a deadly increase in red-light running. The agency also announced support for legislation that would require the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend the vehicle registrations of the worst offenders with five or more red light camera violations. This duo of bills would help curb the uptick in reckless driving the city has experienced since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.  

“Three decades of data makes it clear: red light cameras reduce crashes and change driver behavior—but state law unfortunately limits their safety benefits to a tiny fraction of intersections,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “By renewing and expanding the program and cracking down on dangerous repeat offenders, NYC DOT will have new and improved tools to combat the historic rise in reckless driving we’ve seen since the pandemic. This legislation will support the agency’s holistic approach to Vision Zero through redesigning our streets as well as educating and enforcing against the most dangerous behavior.”


NYC DOT’s red light camera program has proven to yield significant safety results over its 30 years of operation. On average, intersections with red light cameras experienced a nearly 13 percent decline in right-angle, or T-bone, injury crashes. The program has also proven to change driver behavior and deter them from repeatedly running red lights; in 2023, 94 percent of vehicles caught running a red light received no more than one or two violations. Fewer than 0.5 percent of vehicles received five or more violations.

Despite these safety gains, the program is too limited to serve as a wider deterrent against reckless and dangerous red-light running. Current state law limits these cameras to operating at no more than 150 locations at a given time—or less than 1 percent of the city’s more than 13,700 signalized intersections.

With this restriction, the city is severely limited in its ability to use this life-saving tool to address a recent spike in red light running. In 2023, 29 people were killed in red-light running crashes—the worst annual total ever recorded and more than double the average annual total of such deaths from the previous decade—all at intersections without red-light cameras.

To counter these trends, NYC DOT will work with legislators in Albany to pass legislation from State Senator Andrew Gounardes (S2812) and Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz (A5259), which would reauthorize the program to December 1, 2030 and expand the number of locations to 1,325, or about 10 percent of signalized intersections. NYC’s Red Light Camera Legislative Proposals


Even while most drivers change their behavior after one or two violations, a small group of repeat offenders are not deterred by repeated fines alone. These major violators pose a serious risk to themselves and their fellow New Yorkers and require a substantial penalty that will also help keep their vehicles off the road. In 2023, about 2,400 vehicles received five or more red light camera violations in a 12-month period. Research has shown that receiving five red light camera violations triples a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash that causes injury.

To address this dangerous recidivism and get reckless drivers off our streets, NYC DOT is supporting legislation from State Senator Michael Gianaris (S451) and Assemblymember William Magnarelli (A7621) that would authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the registrations for vehicles that get five or more red light camera violations in a 12-month period.

“The undeniable success of red-light cameras demands our commitment to reauthorize and sustain this crucial program. Adding red-light cameras to more intersections is not just a good idea – it is a responsible and proactive step toward creating safer roads for everyone,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “It’s imperative that we pass laws to penalize reckless drivers so that New York doesn't re-experience the traffic violence that claimed too many lives in 2023.”

“I commend Commissioner Rodriguez and the New York City Department of Transportation on expansion of our Red-Light Camera Enforcement Program to increase pedestrian safety throughout New York City,” said Congress Member Adriano Espaillat. “Coupled with street improvement projects, this vital initiative will save lives and enhance safety on our bustling city streets. We are united in our commitment to public safety and today’s announcement will increase the number of intersections covered by red light cameras to help significantly reduce accidents, making our roads safer for all New Yorkers.”

“Too many accidents occur at the hands of drivers who have proven they are dangerous behind the wheel,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. “We know who the bad drivers are. Getting them off the streets should be a no-brainer.”

“The logic behind these cameras is simple: most drivers don’t run red lights. And those drivers, along with everyone else, are safer when the ones who do are held accountable,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “In 2021, 45 percent of all traffic fatalities in the city happened at intersections. But only 1 percent of city intersections have cameras. If we found the antidote to a deadly illness, would we give it to only 1 percent of patients? Of course not. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to expand the cameras across the city, so more New Yorkers are safe on our streets, whether they’re traveling by foot, bike, wheelchair, or motor vehicle. I'm thankful to Commissioner Rodriguez and DOT for their steadfast commitment to keeping all New Yorkers safe.”

“259 New Yorkers were killed in traffic crashes in 2023, the same number that were killed the year Vision Zero first launched. 2023 was also the deadliest year of the past decade for cyclists as fatalities continue to rise for vulnerable road users. New York City wants to make their streets safer and we in the state government should be helping them, not standing in their way,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. “That’s why we need to pass common sense traffic safety bills like Sammy’s Law (S.2422), which will give New York City the right to reduce the speed limit in places they see fit. We can also renew, and vastly expand, the City’s automated red light camera enforcement program (S.2812), which has been proven to be highly effective in reducing severe injuries and pass legislation to create greater accountability for those who receive multiple red light camera violations (S.451). Passing these laws will greatly enhance safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians across the city while also reducing the number of unnecessary traffic stops.”

“As a champion for road safety, I support the passage of A5259/S2812, which aims to extend and expand New York City's red light camera program. By renewing this vital program and significantly broadening its reach to cover 1,325 intersections, we are taking proactive steps to enhance safety on our streets and protect all road users,” said State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. “Furthermore, the introduction of A7621/S451, allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend registrations for vehicles with repeat red light camera violations, demonstrates our commitment to enforcing accountability on our roads. These measures are essential to deter reckless driving behavior and ultimately save lives. These initiatives represent a significant stride towards creating safer roadways for all New Yorkers. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting these crucial pieces of legislation for the well-being of our communities.”

“With recent data showing an increase in vehicular fatalities in Black and Latino neighborhoods while they decrease in majority white areas, communities like mine need more tools to increase street safety,” said State Assemblymember Brian A. Cunningham. “An expansion of the City’s red-light camera program will enhance street safety by adding hundreds of cameras to the City’s most vulnerable intersections, enabling us to identify dangerous drivers and protect residents from traffic violence across New York.”

“Far too many New Yorkers are lost every year from preventable, traffic-related incidents. Recently, I lost my neighbor when she was struck in a crosswalk while having the right-of-way,” said State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “I am proud to co-sponsor A5259 to increase the number of traffic-control signal photo violation-monitoring devices, which make our roads safer. There must be consequences for reckless driving, it endangers lives.”

“I am committed to the efforts in enhancing traffic safety and making our city streets safer by holding the most dangerous drivers accountable,” said State Assemblymember Edward Gibbs. “Our unwavering support for these legislations is a significant step in curbing reckless driving and reducing red light violations, ultimately aiming to protect pedestrians and other road users. I am proud to work in partnership with NYC DOT and my state colleagues to ensure safer roads for our family, friends, and children. These legislative priorities put us on the right path for a greater, safer, New York.”

“New York City's red light camera program has been successfully reducing the number of crashes at covered intersections since 1994, but only at 150 locations throughout the city,” said State Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “With a nearly 80 percent decrease in average tickets issued at intersections in 2021 compared to the first year of the program, it is undeniably successful in getting motorists to change their behavior. Yet there is a small number of dangerous drivers that continue to run red lights despite receiving numerous infractions. The time has come to expand this lifesaving and proven program so more intersections are monitored for reckless driving and to increase penalties for those that regularly put pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists at risk.”

“This January, I experienced a traumatic traffic crash as a pedestrian struck in an intersection that thankfully only resulted in a broken arm,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas. “But so many of our neighbors, including one of my constituents, 7-year-old Dolma Naadhun, tragically lost their lives to unsafe driving conditions over the years. The critical bill to renew and expand the red-light camera program in New York City will help make our streets safer for everyone and ensure New York drivers are mindful of pedestrians. Alongside the proposals in my Western Queens Street Safety Plan, we will foster a safer environment and more collaborative culture among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We must prioritize safety over speed. Safe streets save lives.”

“Red light cameras are a proven method of reducing the number of violent crashes. As elected officials, we are responsible for passing bills that will protect the well-being of our communities,” said State Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes. “We have a proven method to reduce and one day eliminate needless traffic deaths and accidents. It makes no sense to have solutions to the issue and not implement them. Until New York City is given the right to implement the necessary initiatives to ensure safe streets, the state legislature must act proactively to meet their needs. We must pass these two key pieces of state legislation by the end of this year's legislative session.”

“I commend our DOT Commissioner Rodriguez for backing our State legislation to reduce red light running in New York City", said State Assemblymember Rebecca A. Seawright. “As a cosponsor and strong supporter of the legislation to make our streets safer, we are building upon the success of the authorization of the 24/7 speed camera enforcement that proved to reduce speeding by 30 percent in its first year.”

“There is no question that red light cameras are a deterrent to unsafe driving. With a huge jump in drivers running red lights and traffic fatalities this year, we must increase the number of red light cameras to cover more intersections,” said State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “The State should renew the program and allow the City to expand the program. Thank you to Commissioner Rodriguez, the bills’ sponsors, and the advocates for championing safer streets in New York City,"

“New York City's red light camera program is nearly 30 years old but only installed at 150 intersections around the city. It must be renewed and expanded to more intersections," said Kate Brockwehl, serious crash survivor, co-chair of the Families for Safe Streets Policy Committee. "Over its three decades, the average number of citations issued daily has dropped 77 percent, but since the start of the pandemic red light running has increased. Crashes caused by running red lights are more likely to be high speed right-angle crashes, which tend to be particularly lethal. Renewing and expanding the red light camera program is a common sense solution to make our streets safer.”

“Red-light running continues to set record highs across New York City. Despite this, Albany limits red-light cameras to just 1 percent of signalized intersections,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We agree with DOT Commissioner Rodriguez: New York City needs all the tools it can to reign in reckless driving and create safe streets. Albany must renew and expand the city’s red-light camera program, while giving the DMV the power to suspend repeat offenders’ vehicle registrations.”

“There may be no more important street-safety legislation in Albany this session than Senator Gounardes’s and Assemblyman Dinowitz’s bill expanding and extending the city’s life-saving red-light camera program,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC. “Red-light cameras are proven to reduce the kind of high-speed intersection crashes that cause a disproportionate number of deaths and serious injuries, and it’s ridiculous that the current law only allows such cameras at 150 New York City intersections. Coupled with Senator Gianaris’s and Assemblyman Magnarelli’s bill to allow for suspension of registrations for multiple dangerous red-light offenses, we have a chance to markedly improve intersection safety. The legislature must pass these bills.”

“Red light cameras are integral to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in New York City,” said Ken Podziba, CEO of Bike New York. “We know from existing data that red light cameras act as a deterrent to reckless driving at intersections, and they allow the city to hold violators accountable. We have seen far too many fatalities at the hands of irresponsible drivers ignoring red lights, often with multiple violations. The proposed increase in red light cameras, as well as the threat of suspension of drivers licenses for repeat offenders, will go even further to incentivize good behavior while behind the wheel. We thank councilmembers Gournades, Dinowitz, Gianaris and Magnarelli, and the NYC DOT, for their efforts to protect the lives of New Yorkers.”

“Tri-State Transportation Campaign supports these two bills, which would expand the city’s red light camera program to cover 10 percent of the city’s traffic signals and ensure that drivers who flagrantly endanger others by racking up multiple red light violations are taken off the road,” said Corey Hannigan, Active Transportation Program Manager at Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Running a red light puts everyone in danger, not just drivers, but we can’t expect to put police on every signalized intersection in the city. Automated enforcement cameras ensure that the rules are applied consistently and impartially, and they have been proven to significantly reduce serious crashes wherever implemented.”

“If we want people to ditch their fossil-fuel emitting cars we need to make sure our streets are safe,” said Pat McClellan, Policy Director for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Red light runners not only endanger other drivers, they are a particular menace for pedestrians, bicyclists and other micro-mobility users. We are proud to stand with Commissioner Rodriguez to advocate for these measures to reclaim our roadways and help ensure the safety-of-movement for all New Yorkers.

"Running a red light is a choice that endangers everyone and creates a hostile environment on our streets," said Sara Lind, Co-Executive Director at Open Plans. "Strict camera enforcement is the automatic, unbiased way to change that behavior. Renewing and expanding our red light camera program is essential and will bring the proven benefits to many more lives. And for the small fraction of drivers who repeatedly choose to put their fellow New Yorkers at risk, they must face consequences. Kudos to these state lawmakers for championing smart solutions for safe streets."