By State Sen. Nicholas Scutari
I’ve said in the past that red light cameras are a mistake, and I’m disappointed that three municipalities in the state [Newark, Brick and East Brunswick] are moving forward with the program. Simply put, these cameras are nothing more than a money-grab for municipalities, and will result in more traffic accidents than if we did nothing at all.
When the Legislature approved the pilot traffic surveillance program last year, our intention was to reduce traffic crashes and pedestrian fatalities at problematic intersections. However, if drivers know they’re risking a traffic ticket from running a red light, they’re more likely to stop short, resulting in an increase in rear-end collisions.
In addition, red light cameras only record the vehicle’s license plate, unfairly placing the blame on the vehicle’s owner for the traffic violation, even if they weren’t in the driver’s seat.
I would have no problem if these devices were used simply for analysis at high-traffic intersections, helping to direct limited police resources to where they can do the most good. But automatically issuing traffic violations because a car is captured on camera running a red light is an unfair and potentially dangerous police practice, and I urge all three municipalities to abandon the program before it does more harm than good.
Nicholas Scutari represents 11 municipalities in Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties in Legislative District 22.
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