DOT Suspends Red-Light Camera Tickets, but Not in Gloucester Township
The NJ Department of Transportation has suspended red-light camera programs in 21 of 25 municipalities, but not Gloucester Township's.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday announced it has suspended ticketing from red-light cameras in 21 of 25 municipalities it approved to use the technology, but Gloucester Township isn't one of them.
DOT has ordered ticketing suspended at 63 of 85 camera-monitored intersections statewide after it learned the pilot program's 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 DOT and the state's municipalities use when installing traffic signals.
Ticketing by red-light cameras has been temporarily shut down altogether in 19 of the 21 towns impacted by the DOT directive. Those 19 towns are Newark, Linden, Wayne, Palisades Park, Union Township, Springfield (Union County), Roselle Park, Rahway, Englewood Cliffs, Pohatcong, Piscataway, Edison, East Windsor, Lawrence, Cherry Hill, Stratford, Monroe (Gloucester County), Brick and Glassboro.
DOT has also ordered ticketing from red-light cameras be suspended at single intersections in Jersey City and Woodbridge.
In Gloucester Township, a total of 10 cameras are located at four intersections along Blackwood Clementon Road. They are at the roadway's intersections with Cherrywood Drive and Erial, Little Gloucester and Millbridge roads.
From July 2010, when the pilot program came to Gloucester Township, through December 2011, a total of 38,766 traffic tickets were issued to motorists as a result of driving actions captured by the cameras.
DOT notes the difference in the two formulas may or may not require a longer duration for the yellow light at the 63 intersections.
Every traffic signal at each of the 85 intersections in the pilot program conforms to the nationally accepted standard, according to DOT. However, DOT found traffic signals at only 22 of the 85 intersections were certified in accordance with the formula specified in the legislation, including Gloucester Township's four.
Patch blogger Paul DiBartolo, a Blackwood resident, has suggested on several occasions that the yellow light for Little Gloucester Road northbound traffic approaching Blackwood Clementon Road was too short, as he understood the formula.
He wrote in a May blog:
After receiving a red-light camera ticket at the intersection of Little Gloucester Road and Blackwood Clementon Road I recorded the red, yellow, and green light timing. The yellow light where I was ticketed lasted less than 2 seconds (actually 1.95 seconds). This was recorded on a digital camera and ported into a commercial video editing program where I timed the lights down to hundredths of a second. I was concerned that I had been entrapped. At my hearing, where my ticket was thrown out for other reasons, the police officer reviewing the video informed me that the yellow light requirement was 1 second for every 10 mph. The speed limit at the intersection in question was 35 mph requiring at least 3.5 seconds of yellow light time.
In addition to the four in Gloucester Township, the intersections not affected by Tuesday's DOT directive include one in Deptford, one in East Brunswick and one in New Brunswick. Twelve of 13 intersections equipped with cameras in Jersey City and three of four intersections in Woodbridge are excluded from the directive.
DOT included the following, unedited explanation of the differences between the two formulas with the press release it issued Tuesday afternoon announcing ticketing suspensions in 21 of the 25 towns included in the pilot program:
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.