A New Jersey state lawmaker has offered a bill that could
lead to red-light cameras popping up in communities around the state.
Existing state law prohibits use of camera radar by law
enforcement officers or agencies.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Coniglio, D-Paramus, the
bill would remove the restriction to allow counties and cities to use photo
enforcement at certain traffic signals.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners' vehicles and
license plates. Tickets are mailed to the vehicles' owners, regardless who was
driving at the time.
Supporters say the equipment encourages compliance with the
law and saves lives by reducing collisions. Opponents question the claim that
cameras are solely intended to keep people safe.
"The motivation of every player in this deal is economics.
Whether it's the local jurisdiction or the manufacturer: That's not reasonable
justification for doing that," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Others question the effectiveness of such intersection
cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more
In fact, a study paid for by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with
red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights to avoid
Coniglio's bill would fine violators up to $25. Anyone who
fails to pay up could have their driving privileges suspended.
The bill - S2123 - is in the Senate Transportation
Committee. It could come up for consideration as soon as Thursday, Feb. 8.
- By Keith Goble,
state legislative editor