SUFFOLK COUNTY (WABC) -- Eyewitness News has learned exclusively that accidents at intersections with red light cameras in Suffolk County increased in 2016, the most recent data available.
Statistics show accidents at red light camera intersections increased 1.5 percent compared to the three years prior to the cameras being installed. Rear end collisions increased by 35.2 percent, while right angle collisions decreased by 23.5 percent. The data shows an overall decrease in collisions involving injury by 1.5 percent.
The data shows a total of 351,533 red light camera fines were paid in 2016. At $50 for each fine, a total of $17,576,650 was generated for Suffolk County.
However, adding in fines, late fees, interest fees, credit card convenience fees and administrative fees, and the total revenue for Suffolk County was $30,945,286. The county paid $9,316,664 to the red light camera vendor.
"These cameras are about one thing and one thing only, revenue," Suffolk County legislator Robert Trotta said.
Trotta has been trying to get the red light cameras removed for years, and he has a bill in the Suffolk County legislature that would require the removal of cameras at any intersection where accidents have increased more than 50 percent.
"If it's about safety, that camera should come down immediately," Trotta said.
Personal injury attorney David Raimondo, based in Lake Grove, has represented many people injured in red light camera accidents in Suffolk County.
"I had a case recently where someone admitted to stepping on the gas to beat the red light and, as a result, struck my client, who was in the process of making a left turn," Raimondo said.
Suffolk County blames the increase in accidents at red light camera intersections on distracted driving.
"Since 2014, Suffolk County has a proven record of reducing accidents involving injury that help keep our roads safe," said Paul Margiotta, executive director of the county's Traffic and Parking Violations Agency. "We are encouraged by the continued decrease of total accidents involving injury at red light camera intersections even as distracted driving involving smartphone use has skyrocketed."
CLICK HERE to see the entire list of intersections and the accident statistics.