State Suspends Camera-Issued Tickets In 21 Municipalities

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TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Transportation has directed 21 of the 25 municipalities that are participating in a pilot program to suspend issuing summonses to motorists on the basis of video evidence provided by cameras placed at intersections. The yellow light duration at the intersections may not meet the requirements set by the law that established the pilot program.

The suspension order affects 63 of the 85 intersections statewide where red light cameras are operating or have been approved for operation. It affects all locations in 19 participating municipalities, including Linden, Rahway, Roselle Park, Springfield and Union Township in Union County, and Edison and Piscataway in Middlesex County. The suspension order also applies to some locations in Woodbridge and Jersey City.

The intersections not affected by the directives include one in Deptford, one in East Brunswick, four in Gloucester and one in New Brunswick.  Additionally, 12 of 13 intersections equipped with cameras in Jersey City and three of four intersections in Woodbridge are excluded from the directives.

A full list of all the locations participating in New Jersey’s traffic light camera pilot program is available on the DOT’s website.

The pilot program, authorized by an act of the Legislature in 2008 and implemented beginning in 2009, aims to determine whether red light cameras promote safety by reducing the frequency and severity of crashes at intersections that have a history of motorists running red lights.

NJDOT, which is administering the five-year pilot program, has ordered that the issuance of new violation summonses be suspended at the 63 intersections because it has come to the attention of the Department that the pilot program legislation specifies a formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light in a traffic signal that differs from the legally required, nationally accepted formula that NJDOT or municipalities use when installing traffic signals. The difference in the formulas may or may not require a longer duration for the yellow light.

Every traffic signal at each of the 85 intersections in the pilot program conforms to the nationally accepted standard used by NJDOT.

However, traffic signals at only 22 of the 85 intersections were certified in accordance with the formula specified in the legislation.

NJDOT has notified the 21 affected municipalities of the variance in the formulas and has directed each to perform an analysis that conforms to the formula in the legislation.

  • If the analysis shows that the duration of a yellow light meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation, municipalities will be permitted to issue violation notices for violations that occur during the suspension period, and continue issuing violation notices.
  • If the analysis shows that a signal does not display a yellow light long enough to meet the formula in the legislation, that intersection will be removed from the pilot program.

The intersections not affected by the directives include one in Deptford, one in East Brunswick, four in Gloucester and one in New Brunswick. Additionally, 12 of 13 intersections equipped with cameras in Jersey City and three of four intersections in Woodbridge are excluded from the directives.

NJDOT has directed affected municipalities to conduct their traffic analyses and submit certifications to the Department no later than Aug. 1, 2012.

NJDOT follows the legally required engineering and safety standards in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which requires a minimum duration of the yellow light to equal one-tenth of the posted speed limit on the approaching road. This is a safety standard designed to provide motorists with sufficient time to respond to the yellow light and prevent collisions.

For example, where the approaching road has a posted speed of 40 miles per hour, the signal must display yellow for a minimum of four seconds. NJDOT rounds up to the nearest whole second, so in instances where the approaching speed limit is 45 miles per hour, the signal displays a yellow light for five seconds.

The formula in the legislation to determine pilot-program eligibility requires an analysis of vehicle speeds as they approach the intersection where a red light camera installation is proposed. The formula requires a yellow signal of at least three seconds if at least 85 percent of the approaching traffic travels at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less.

For each five mile-per-hour increase in vehicle speed above 30 miles per hour, the minimum duration of the yellow light must be increased by 0.5 seconds, according to the legislation.

This requirement aims to ensure that the traffic signal is timed properly to provide motorists with sufficient time to avoid a violation and fine by entering an intersection when the light is red.


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