New Jersey, Pennsylvania bills would green light speed cameras

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Enforcement cameras are getting another look in New Jersey. Pennsylvania lawmakers also are discussing the issue.

New Jersey Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti, D-Hudson, is behind a bill to permit the use of speed enforcement cameras in his state’s highway work zones.

Ticket cameras are not a new issue in the Garden State. About two dozen communities throughout New Jersey employed more than 70 red-light cameras through 2014. The controversial five-year program was sunset at that time.

Chiaravalloti’s bill would bring back automated ticketing. Specifically, the legislation would create a five-year pilot program to use traffic cameras in work zones.

Automated enforcement cameras would be used to detect drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 11 mph when workers are present. Registered owners of vehicles found in violation would receive $100 fines in the mail. No points would be added to a driver’s record.

Three-quarters of the fine revenue would be allotted to the New Jersey State Police. About half of their allotment would be designated to pay for additional police presence in work zones.

Opponents say the traffic cameras are a money grab. They also question whether the cameras will be turned off when workers are not on the job.

The bill, A5082, is in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

A similar pursuit is underway across the state line in Pennsylvania.

A Senate-approved bill would authorize speed cameras in active work zones on interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

SB172 would authorize a three-year pilot program for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Commission to post speed cameras. As introduced, the bill called for setting up a five-year pilot program.

The same speed limit threshold and fine amounts included in the New Jersey legislation apply to the Pennsylvania bill.

Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, says changes are needed to driver behavior in work zones to hopefully remind motorists to slow down in affected areas. He highlights figures from 2016 that show there were 2,075 crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, including 16 deaths.

“The goal of this legislation is to safeguard the men and women who work on repairing our roads and infrastructure in order to make them safer and more efficient for motorists,” Argall said in previous remarks.

Argall’s bill is in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here. For Pennsylvania, click here.

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