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Editorial: Are We Paying For Safety?

A new law is set to put up hundreds of robots monitoring motorists in school zones. Speeders will be fined at the rate of $50 per violation, with tickets mailed to recipients, arriving long after the fact. Not a dime of the money will come to Floral Park; it’s all for Nassau County.

Some are for it, saying it’s all about safety for children. Pedestrian fatalities among children have fallen 41 percent since 2002, to just 230 nationwide in 2011—although each one is heartbreaking.  

Some are against the speed cams, seeing them as a punitive revenue gimmick for the cash-strapped county. For others, that’s a point in its favor: a revenue-generator that is linked to individual behavior.  (See Mike Miller’s column this week)

Here, too, we have mixed feelings. One staffer points out that red-light robot cameras, for example, don’t seem to allow for rights on red (such tickets, by the way, are a third of the total). He’s further irked because “you can’t face a robot in court.” He no longer turns right on red, anywhere, ever (probably annoying other drivers, upping the quotient of road rage). Another editor notes that police presence is more powerful than mindless robots. She worries that cameras will become a cheap substitute for cops—who can catch more than just speeding drivers.

What do you think? Sneaky revenue gimmick for the county or critical safety move for Floral Park children? Worth doing either way? Make your views known by writing to us.