Red-light pilot program summonses can resume, DOT reports

TRENTON – The timing is right.  At least that’s what towns that use red light cameras to catch speeding motorists are saying.

Responding to a June 19 directive from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 21 municipalities have provided recertifications confirming that the yellow light timing at 63 intersections where red light cameras are authorized for operation is in accordance with the formula specified in legislation.

Last month the Department directed 21 of the 25 municipalities participating in the red light camera pilot program to suspend issuing summonses to motorists.  The suspension order affected 63 of the 85 authorized red light camera intersections statewide.

DOT ordered the suspension at the affected intersections because the yellow light was not on long enough, meaning some motorists were being ticketed improperly.

DOT notified the 21 affected municipalities to make sure the cameras’ timing conformed to the formula in the legislation. The affected cameras were not required to be turned off, but continued to record traffic activity.

Each affected municipality has conducted the requested traffic analysis, and provided  recertifications to confirm that the duration of a yellow light meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation, DOT reported. 

That means those towns can resume issuing violation summonses, as well as issuing summonses for violations that occurred during the suspension period.

If the analysis had shown that a signal did not display a yellow light long enough to meet the formula in the legislation, that intersection would have been removed from the pilot program, DOT reported.

The red light camera pilot program, which began in 2009, is to determine whether red light cameras promote safety by reducing the number of crashes at intersections that have a history of motorists running red lights.  DOT administers the pilot program but has no direct role in the issuance of violations.

Doherty opposition

Sen. Michael Doherty, (R-23), Washington Township, who has been a steady critic of the whole red-light program, responded to the news.

“I continue to believe that the red light camera program is misguided and will push forward with legislation to ban the use of red light cameras in New Jersey,” he said in a release.

“The certification of the 63 red light cameras in question does nothing to address the propriety of the program as a whole.”

He sponsored S1952 to ban red light cameras, and he has an online petition at http://senatenj.com/cameras toward that effort.

He said more than 4,000 people have signed the online petition so far.

Red-light pilot program summonses can resume, DOT reports