Jul 30, 2014

Legislator's Petition Supports Red Light Camera Program's End

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon released video last month of shorter yellow times at intersections with the cameras.

Legislator's Petition Supports Red Light Camera Program's End

A Monmouth County legislator wants public support to halt New Jersey’s red light camera program. Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13)  created an online petition for those against the cameras to voice their opposition.

"It’s time the people running the program knew just how many New Jerseyans are opposed to these corrupt devices," O’Scanlon said in a press release issued Tuesday. "It’s time for this program to go and I hope to get a loud outcry of support through this petition."

O’Scanlon, a frequent critic of the red light program, released video last month of traffic signals at intersections with cameras  having a shorter yellow light times than allowed by law.

East Brunswick has one such camera at the intersection of Tices Lane and Route 18. Last year, the state determined that East Brunswick would still be allowed to issue summonses resulting from its red light enforcement camera.

However, the state Department of Transportation told 21 other municipalities that they have to stop using the cameras after video evidence provided by the cameras showed that the  timing of "yellow" periods at the lights was wrong. Legislation authorizing the cameras requires a formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light in a traffic signal.

“East Brunswick is not one of those towns," said Councilman Michael Hughes in a prior interview. "Our cameras were found to be consistent with the law and have been operating in a fair manner."

Asked during a recently-aired radio segment his opinion of the Red-Light Safety Camera Program across the state, Gov. Chris Christie said: "you are not going to get a ticket if you don't run a red light."

Residents in 18 towns where the cameras are located - East Brunswick among them - have filed complaints that municipalities and American Traffic Solutions, which operated the cameras for the towns, didn’t meet requirements set forth by New Jersey’s Pilot Red Light Camera Program, and about 500,000 drivers received notice of a settlement after that complaint, according to a NJ.com report. 

A U.S. District Court judge in Trenton will decide whether the settlement should be accepted at a hearing set for Sept. 12, according to the report.

In his recent "Ask the Governor" segment, on NJ 101.5, the Governor acknowledged the debate over the timing of the lights, but said he has not seen the evidence to convince him to pull the program.  Click  here to view the segment.  

Those in favor of the red-light safety camera programs argue that violations, side impact collisions, injuries and fatalities as a result of red-light running continue to fall.  

But  critics of the lights argue that no traffic study was conducted in areas that would include cameras prior to their implementation, and there were no six-month maintenance inspections. Some have also questioned the timing of the yellow lights on the cameras. 

Statewide, there are 25 municipalities with  red-light cameras. Townships with ATS cameras include: Brick, Deptford, East Brunswick, Glassboro, Gloucester, Jersey City, Lawrence, Linden, Monroe, Piscataway, Pohatcong, Rahway, Roselle Park, Wayne and Woodbridge.

Colleen Platt contributed to this report.

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