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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.

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.

Ellen Burke September 08, 2013 at 10:15 AM
The timing of the Tices Lane cameras continue to be completely messed up. More than once, I have been stopped at a red light as the camera continues to flash repeatedly. And the facts of this article are just not correct in terms of how many red light cameras this town has. There are new ones at Rues Lane and Route 18. There's been one at Cranbury and Rues Lane for quite a while, and I'm sure there are others I've missed. Yes, we should all follow traffic laws but - with or without red light cameras - people will continue to drive recklessly and run red lights. Red light cameras are revenue makers for cash-strapped municipalities all over the country. That's why they're in place.
drew walsh September 08, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Elle Burke. The only red light camera in East Brunswick is Rt.18/Tices Ln. There is no red light camera at Rt.18/Rues Ln. (although that was the next intersection I heard they were considering installing cameras). There is no red light camera at Cranbury Rd./Rues LN. either. What appears to be cameras on those traffic lights are really devices that changes the traffic signals for the fire trucks when responding to calls with lights and sirens. The strobe lights somehow trigger the lights to change instead of remaining on the current timing.
Ellen Burke September 08, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I have different information from someone in a position to know. In any event, the cameras are not a good idea and - when people fight the tickets, as more and more people are doing - it costs townships money because then they have to send someone to defend the ticket in court. This is not a safety issue in any town; it's a revenue issue.
drew walsh September 09, 2013 at 06:01 AM
Elle, whoever told you that is 100% wrong. In any event the cameras are good. they generate revenue for "violations" as opposed to generating money thru more taxes. As far as court goes....it costs the town practically nothing. People come to court to dispute the red light camera tickets and are provided a chance to watch their violation of the website. After seeing they did in fact go thru the red light or make a right turn on red without stopping, they mostly go to the window and pay the ticket.
Donald Drain October 06, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Here's what a lot of people are leaving out. The town gets only a small portion of the revenue. For example here in Gloucester Twp. the town only gets around %10 of the ticket cost. That is on top of a $570,000 annual contract for just 4 red light cameras from Annual Traffic Solutions. A company that has already proven it's disregard for laws by changing traffic light timing among other shifty practices. If you look at the intersections where these lights are you will see skid marks everywhere from all the cars slamming onto their brakes and causing accident hazards. Lastly, there is little to no oversight with the accuracy of these cameras. In the US you have the right to face your accuser and get discovery information about the complaint. This was established in all of our Confrontation Clauses and Due Process Clauses. It was reaffirmed in 2004 Crawford vs Washington. The court concluded "Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty." These tickets are "violations" and not criminal matters, so it is supposed to be taken care of in civil court and not criminal court. The company should only be able to pursue cost after a judgement is made and guilt is proven. None of these practices are followed.

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