TRENTON – State Sen. Michael Doherty said that although a decision to temporarily suspend the issuance of tickets at 63 of 85 red light cameras in New Jersey is a good start, a permanent ban on all cameras is still needed.
“We’ve heard complaints from motorists that some yellow lights aren’t timed correctly or may actually have been shortened at intersections where red light cameras are installed,” said Doherty (R-Warren). “This is especially concerning since the statute permitting the use of red light cameras requires speed studies at intersections prior to camera installation to properly set the yellow light cycle according to a very specific calculation. The action by the New Jersey Department of Transportation to suspend enforcement at many intersections is recognition that those required studies were never completed as required by law.”
National standards call for a yellow light cycle that provides one second for every 10 miles per hour of speed limit on the road. New Jersey’s red light camera law goes a step further by requiring towns to study how fast cars actually travel through an intersection and to set the yellow light timing based on the speed that at least 85 percent of cars are traveling.
The NJDOT has determined that the required speed studies were never conducted at 63 of the 85 locations in New Jersey where red light cameras are installed. Under the temporary suspension, violations will still be recorded by those 63 cameras, but tickets will not be issued until the required studies are conducted to ensure that yellow light timing at those intersections is in compliance with the law. If an intersection is found to be configured improperly, any violations stored during the temporary suspension will be discarded.
“While the temporary suspension of some red light cameras is a positive step, we still must recognize that the entire program is flawed and should be eliminated,” added Doherty. “If safety is truly the goal, there are simple steps that towns could take to fix dangerous intersections, such as increasing the length of yellow lights and adding an all red cycle. The fact that simple fixes continue to be ignored while ticket revenues continue to flow into town coffers makes you wonder if safety is really the goal.”
Doherty is the sponsor of legislation (S-1952) to prohibit the use of red light cameras in New Jersey. He maintains an online petition at http://www.senatenj.com/cameras, already signed by nearly 3,000 people, in support of his legislation.
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