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Bellone Defends Suffolk Red Light Camera Program, Says Accidents Are Down

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Are Suffolk County drivers being trapped into getting red light camera tickets because of sneaky tactics being used, including shortening yellow lights?

Absolutely not, County Executive Steve Bellone said Wednesday.

Suffolk County Republican lawmakers are calling for the camera program to be discontinued, arguing it is a money grab.

"There's no basis for that in reality whatsoever," Bellone told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall. "And this is the political desperation, three weeks before an election. These are the same people who actually voted for the program and voted to expand the program just a short time ago."

The bottom line, Bellone said, is that accidents are down, including T-bone accidents, along with the number of red light camera tickets being issued because people are being more cautious.

But Suffolk legislators said this week the public is outraged.

Robert Trotta, R-Fort Salonga, said a large number of tickets have been distributed for drivers failing to stop a full three seconds on red before making a right turn.

"Ninety-five percent of these tickets were right on reds. I've watched 68-year-old women, 84-year-old women getting a ticket for a right on red where clearly no one is coming," he said.

"These cameras are actually causing more accidents," said county Legislator Tom Cilmi, R-East Islip, "because folks don't know what to do at these intersections."

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