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Despite Pleas From Cash-Strapped Residents, Suffolk County Extends Controversial Red Light Camera Program

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Lawmakers in Suffolk County extended its controversial red light camera program for another five years.

The 11-7 vote fell along party lines. Democrats voted for the program, but they're reportedly open to changes, including a review of the locations of the 100 cameras.

Opponents say accidents are up 60 percent at those locations, but county officials blame that on distracted driving.

MORE: Worthwhile Program Or Significant Money Grab? Study Of Red Light Cameras On Long Island Yields Mixed Results

Suffolk County has taken in $30 million dollars in annual revenue from the program.

Residents fiercely fought to end the program Wednesday, pointing out so-called ticket traps that locals say are being used by the county as a money grab.

"All my neighbors get these tickets and they are not unsafe drivers."

"I have to now budget four percent, five percent of my income now to pay for tickets."

"It's baloney, our rights are being violated," residents said at a public hearing on the matter before the vote.

"I'm just saying stop it, find another way to pay your bill… most of these cameras are in the poor neighborhoods."

Drivers reminded lawmakers of the impact of $80 tickets, most of them for failure to stop fully before a right on red.

"Very unfair to working people, we are trying to keep our head above water here," another Long Island resident said.

"It's thievery and it's dangerous and the public is being abused."

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