Red-light camera bill would increase amber light’s duration

TRENTON – The controversy over the red light cameras used in some towns is the subject a bill introduced this week.

A3285 would increase the time the amber light is on at such intersections, and put in place a grace period for violations that occur in the one-half second immediately after a signal turns to red.

The bill, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, (R-13), Red Bank, who has been one of the lawmakers openly critical of the red light camera program, is an attempt to deal with criticism leveled at towns that they are using such camera systems mainly as revenue sources.

Under current law, the amber light must have a minimum duration of three seconds if at least 85 percent of the approaching traffic is traveling at 25 miles per hour or slower. 

The required duration of the amber light increases by one-half second for every five-mile increase in the speed of traffic approaching the intersection. 

Under the bill, the amber light at an intersection with a red light camera must have a minimum duration of:

Four seconds if at least 85 percent of the traffic approaching the signal is moving 30 miles per hour or less;

Four and one half seconds if at least 85 percent of the vehicular traffic approaching the signal is traveling 30 to 35 miles per hour;

Five seconds if at least 85 percent of the traffic approaching the signal is traveling 35 to 40 miles per hour;

Five and one half seconds for traffic at 40 to 45 miles per hour; six seconds for 45 to 50 miles per hour; six and one half seconds for 50 to 55 miles per hour; and seven seconds for more than 55 miles per hour.

The fine for various offenses detected using a red light camera would be $20.  The fine for violations detected using other means remains unchanged.

Other sponsors of the bipartisan bill include Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Englewood; Holly Schepisi, (R-39), Westwood; and Patrick Diegnan, (D-18), South Plainfield.

There are approximately 20 towns in New Jersey using such systems.  Their use had been suspended earlier this year while the cameras were inspected.

Red-light camera bill would increase amber light’s duration