Red-Light Cameras Hot Topic in Trenton

A North Jersey state senator introduces legislation that would steer revenue from red-light camera ticketing programs to the state's Highway Safety Fund.

A Republican state senator from North Jersey has introduced legislation that eliminates the financial incentive for towns to install red-light cameras.

Sen. Mike Doherty (Warren) in mid-January vowed to bring forth the legislation challenging towns' purpose in red-light camera ticketing programs. He followed through on that promise on Thursday.

“Despite growing proof that red-light cameras have failed at their primary goal of improving driver safety, local officials continue to defend the cameras,” Doherty said in a press release. “It’s clear that many mayors and council members would rather have red-light cameras ticket revenues for their budgets than safer roads for our families.”

Doherty's bill would direct towns to deposit all fines collected from violations recorded by red-light cameras into the state's Highway Safety Fund, eliminating towns' share of red-light camera ticket revenues.

While it's mainly been Trenton Republicans bashing the red-light camera program to this point—Monmouth County Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon railed against the cameras last summer after his independent analysis found violations in the way traffic lights were timed—Statehouse Democrats are now also proposing changes to the program, which was approved as a five-year pilot in 2008.

On Feb. 11, the Assembly transportation panel reviewed a bill proposed by Democratic legislators John Wisniewski (Middlesex) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (Bergen) that calls for longer yellow-light times and a ban on automated tickets for right-turn violations, among other changes at red-light camera intersections.

Gloucester Township was one of 25 towns approved for the pilot program, and it flipped the switch on its red-light cameras in July 2010. The township issued a total of 38,766 traffic tickets between July 2010 and December 2011 as a result of driving actions captured by 10 cameras along Blackwood Clementon Road and later deemed illegal by police upon review.

Doherty is pointing to a November 2012 New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) report—completed as an annual requirement of the red-light camera pilot program—showing the total number of accidents, the total number of accidents resulting in injuries and the total cost of accidents all increased at intersections where red-light cameras have been installed.

American Traffic Solutions (ATS), which runs Gloucester Township's red-light cameras, released a video on Friday detailing the review process used before tickets are issued for violations captured by cameras. (See the YouTube video to the right.)

The Arizona-based company points to different numbers from the DOT report than those cited by Doherty. It notes a decrease in right-angle crashes, or broadside collisions, which it says are "the only type of collision that is directly attributed to red-light running."

"At the 24 intersections with red-light safety cameras in use for one year, total right-angle crashes decreased 15 percent from the previous year," ATS noted in a November 2012 press release. "At the two intersections with cameras in use for two years, right angle crashes decreased 57 percent after one year with cameras and 86 percent in the second year with red-light safety cameras in operation."

In January, Gloucester Township Business Administrator Tom Cardis took issue with Doherty's proposal to send funds to the state Highway Safety Fund.

“My criticism of this is it implies we've done something wrong, and we've done nothing wrong,” Cardis told Patch. "We made our application—which a lot of municipalities did not do, and that's on them that they did not take the initiative to do this; it was available to everybody."

He also noted that when the state Department of Transportation suspended ticketing from cameras in June 2012 in 21 of 25 municipalities approved for the state's pilot program, Gloucester Township was not among them. The state ordered the 21 municipalities to certify their cameras met the program's statutory requirements.

The Highway Safety Fund is used exclusively for highway safety projects and programs offered by DOT and state police.

Darren Gladden February 25, 2013 at 04:29 PM
ps Susan are you following me around ...............SMH ...... We will not go quietly into the night! Just care , I do
Mayor Blackberry February 25, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Mr. Gladden we have eyes and ears everywhere. We are watching you. We know everything you say and every conversation you have. You are the greatest threat to my team's complete supremacy over this town since Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles dominance over popular culture. Though to be fair, your driving really is awful. It is nearly as bad as the municipal governance and ethics of my team. If you can't handle the criticism of your driving then I suggest you stay off of the sidewalks. I do thank you for the YouTube videos. They look great on my phone as I manage GT while lobbying my chief of staff in Trenton.
Darren Gladden February 25, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Understand my driving is Poor "SIR" but "SIR if you look at my driving Record ....... I myself think it look's pretty good . Now yes I know you are maybe the worst Mayor in History but I will give Credit were credit is do you run a Tight ship of lies that people Believe and you sell yourself STRONG but like you said .WE are everywhere also watching you ,,,,,,,,,So Just care , I do ......Enjoy the tune and have yourself a Nice day http://youtu.be/RkZC7sqImaM
Mayor Blackberry February 25, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Yes Mr. Gladden my pimp hand is strong with those who depend on me for jobs or contracts with the town or money given to their causes. How else do you think I maintain my control over them? You are the only one asking questions at meetings because everyone else realized I have forbidden council members from giving answers. Everyone else is doing more useful work like pairing their socks and checking their recycling cans for holes in the pink lids.
Debbie Shinn February 26, 2013 at 04:10 PM
You all got it wrong, wrong wrong and don't mean about Darren's driving. hehe. There is no plan to remove the cameras. Trenton has just realized the towns are raking in the money and they want it for themselves!!!!! Typical NJ politics. If there is $$ to had, Trenton wants it!!! GET IT PEEPS!!! They say to be used to fund safety/road projects. We have a fund for that and they raided it bare!!! That's why our roads and bridges are in such bad shape now!!! They stole the Tranportation Trust Fund.. BTW, the Republicans, under Whitman did that while she also raided the Pension Funds!!! There will only be more cameras and nobody to complain to about it at all!!! At least locally we can replace coucil members who continue to support this project. Let Trenton get ahold of it and were are all done. That might actually be the plan... Take the heat off local politicians and continue to rob from the residents!!!


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