There has been no proverbial ‘green light’ to move forward with the red light cameras that New Jersey stopped using a year ago, and the NJ Department of Transportation is still undergoing review of the numbers from the time when the cameras were up in a temporary pilot program. When they finish crunching the numbers, there should be a much clearer picture available of just how much safe these cameras are making the roadways, if at all.
According to NJDOT spokesman Stephen Schapiro, it will take several more months for the report to be finalized and available to the public. Data of traffic violations compiled during the controversial pilot program was initially compiled a year ago. During the pilot, the cameras would take a photograph of cars that ran through red lights, or turned right on red before completely stopping the car. If these infractions occurred, the camera would take a picture of the offending car’s license plate and mail them a ticket with the picture attached. The data from these tickets and the crash rates around the red-light camera zones is being analyzed to see if they reduced crash rates and traffic violations for drivers who were proceeding more cautiously in those areas.
Once all the information is processed, the final report will recommend whether the program should be continued, changed, or stopped altogether. According to Charles Territo, a spokesman for one of the camera companies used during the pilot period, all previous reports have shown “significant reductions in collisions, injuries, and crash-related costs” where the red-light cameras were being utilized against traffic violations.
After a full year from the date the cameras were pulled, many officials are frustrated at the length of time this report is taking to generate. A spokeswoman for AAA Northeast, Cathleen Lewis, said that the state has had plenty of time to create this report, and Steve Carrellas, of the National Motorists Association, expected it months ago. Carellas also noted that if the program benefits were obvious, the results of the studies would have been already released, stating that “delayed news could be good news for motorists.” The program has not yet been supported by Governor Chris Christie.
Another objection against the cameras comes from Rick Short, an engineer who analyzes state department of transportation crash records at red light camera intersections. He notes that traffic violations actually increase near NJ red light cameras, including a sharp rise in crashes between vehicles and pedestrians in the first year after the devices were installed. The controversy on whether or not these cameras make people safer continues to rage between police departments, outside groups, and the drivers themselves.
If you have been faced with any kind of traffic violation, it’s imperative to seek out an experienced attorney who can assist in your case. For a free phone consultation, call me, Leon Matchin at 732-662-7658 today to learn more about your options for a solid defense.