Cameras may be placed in Staten Island to monitor speed

City Council members and transportation officials in the New York area have proposed a bill to allow traffic cameras to be used at various intersections on Staten Island. The plan is to place 20 to 40 separate cameras across the city.

When cameras pick up upon individuals that are allegedly speeding through these areas, fines of $25 to $50 can be assessed for those individuals reportedly driving the vehicles at the time in excess of 10 to 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. There would be a $100 fine for those reportedly driving more than 30 miles per hour over the limit.

For criminal justice to work correctly, penalties have to be administered in an even-handed and just manner. Equally important, those charged with such violations should have the ability to challenge any evidence brought against them in court.

Video footage from a camera or photo-radar ticket prompts can often be taken out of context. A driver may or may not have been speeding when the camera picked the vehicle up. It's sometimes difficult to determine if the speed recorded pertained to the vehicle in question, and a camera will not always demonstrate what the traffic conditions may have been at the time of the incident.

Criminal defense attorneys do make every effort to put evidence into context. These same attorneys will attempt to make sure that every arrest is tried on a case-by-case basis while allowing for their clients to tell their side of the story.

The burden is upon the prosecution and not the driver to demonstrate the speed of the driver, and we cannot automatically assume that technology accurately reflects the behavior of the driver.

Source: SI Live, "Speed camera plan pitched - a good idea, State Island? Vote in our poll," by Michael Sedon, March 12, 2013

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