New York City's use of camera-issued traffic tickets may be letting repeat traffic offenders off the hook, according to an analysis by its Office of Comptroller. The report was issued in the wake of several high-profile car accidents, including one that claimed the lives of two children.
According to the report, more than 121,000 cars have been issued five or more tickets for running lights and/or speeding near schools while driving in the city over the last 26 months. Of those cars, 24 have been issued over 50 citations. The report also calculated that repeat offenders commit 46 potentially fatal traffic violations each hour in the city, which adds up to more than 1,100 dangerous violations each day.
Why are so many repeat offenders still on the road? The problem is that camera-issued tickets do not carry the same penalties as tickets issued by police officers. The Wall Street Journal reports that drivers who pay the $50 ticket issued by a street camera are not reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which means they don't get points added to their driver's license. This is true even if they have committed multiple violations. However, repeat offenders who are ticketed by a police officer are reported to the DMV and often get their driver's license suspended. As a result of the analysis, traffic safety advocates are pushing for city and state lawmakers to stiffen the penalties for camera-issued traffic tickets.
New York drivers facing traffic violations may be able to help their situation by contacting an attorney. An attorney could review a driver's case and work to get the potential penalties reduced.
Source: NY Curbed, "Study: 46 dangerous traffic violations occur every hour in NYC", Ameena Walker, March 20, 2018