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Borough drivers jump the most lights: Study

A study conducted by Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s office found city motorists run more than a million red lights on average each day and Queens had the highest violation rate of the five boroughs.

“It seems that for some New Yorkers red means go,” Hevesi said. “More than one million times a day, drivers in New York City are ignoring the law. We clearly have a public safety problem on our hands.”

Hevesi’s staff surveyed 106 of the city’s 7,340 high-risk red-light intersections where at least 15 accidents happened in a three-year period. They found on average 14 motorists each hour ran a single red light. Extrapolating the figures citywide to the more than 7,000 sites, that amounted to 28 violations each second.

In Queens, however, the red-light violations were higher than the rest of the city with an average of 17.7 violations per hour. Most of the Queens violations occurred during the evening rush hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the study showed.

Of the city’s 10 worst intersections for violations, four are in Queens: the I-678 service road eastbound at Hillside Avenue with an average of 50 red-light runs each hour; I-495 service road westbound at Van Dam Street with an average of 42 violations each hour; 130th Street at 20th Avenue with 38 violations; and I-495 service road westbound at 159th Street with an average of 38 red-light runs per hour.

There are 30 red-light cameras installed throughout the city. The cameras, which snap the license plates of violators who are then mailed summonses, have reduced by 40 percent the total number of red-light run-throughs, according to figures provided by the city Department of Transportation.

Next month an additional 20 cameras are scheduled to be installed throughout the city, Hevesi said. Two of those are planned for Queens Boulevard. Mayor Giuliani has proposed legislation to increase the total number of cameras in the city to 100.

DOT spokesman Tom Cocola said his agency stands behind the mayor’s legislation.

“We support that and we support any measure that will lead to more red-light cameras,” he said.

Reach reporter Jennifer Warren by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 155.

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