Bill would protect New Jersey drivers from 'scam'

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/1/2014

Electronic ticketing schemes have drawn the ire of one New Jersey state lawmaker.

Communities throughout New Jersey employ nearly 80 red-light cameras. However, the programs set up under a five-year pilot program are scheduled to sunset by the end of this year.

The program’s ending is welcome news to Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Red Bank. However, he wants to see more done to protect drivers in the state from automated ticketing programs.

O’Scanlon is the sponsor of a bill that would also make sure that New Jersey drivers are no longer bothered with electronic ticketing when they drive in states that include New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Specifically, A3527 would prohibit the state from sharing information about New Jersey drivers with other states for speed or red-light camera enforcement.

The bill is modeled after a South Dakota law that took effect this summer.

“These systems have proven to be error-ridden and non-effective so we shouldn’t allow our motorists to be preyed upon when they are outside of our borders,” O’Scanlon said in a previous news release.

Referring to evidence that shows automated enforcement doesn’t improve safety, he also said that continuing to share this information would make New Jersey “complicit in the scam.”

“That’s exactly what these systems are – government-sanctioned theft.”

A3527 is in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

The public’s interest in automated enforcement has been gauged in recent public votes in locales in three states.

Voters in Cleveland, Ohio; Maple Heights, Ohio; Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and St. Charles County, Mo., decided the fate of ticket cameras in their communities. Ballot questions were approved in all four areas to effectively end camera programs.

Through the 2014 fall elections, voters in 31 of the 34 locales around the country that were given the opportunity to decide the fate of ticket cameras in their communities chose to forbid the money-making tool.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports efforts to limit ticket cameras. OOIDA officials say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic: Keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer has said that communities would be better served to pursue “intelligent traffic lights that actually monitor traffic and are triggered by traffic flow.”

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