TRENTON – Lawmakers oversaw a wide-ranging discussion Thursday regarding pros and cons of red-light cameras.
Three bills were up for discussion only with an eye toward possible amendments and/or votes at a future Assembly Transportation Committee hearing.
In support were people such as Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka, who expressed complete support for the program.
Considering the nature of his town – heavily industrialized, with busy roads such as Route 1 and 9, the Holland Tunnel and airports – the program has made traveling safer, he said.
“We should let the pilot program run its course before we make any modifications,” he said. “This has changed my driving behavior.”
The bills address various aspects of the program that is in the midst of a five-year pilot effort.
A3575, for instance, would lengthen the yellow light at such intersections and would institute a grace period for violations that occur in the half second immediately after a traffic light turns red. It would reduce the fine to $20 for failing to stop before turning right on red. This bill will supplant another one on the agenda, A3285, which deals with the same issues.
A3399 would ban outright right turns on red lights at such intersections, and would mandate signs be posted to inform motorists.
Opponents include Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, who cited the problem of law-abiding drivers improperly being ticketed as well as towns using the program mainly to increase their coffers.
He has been a frequent critic of methodology and studies done to examine the program, including a study issued last year by the N.J. DOT.