A New Jersey Senate panel advanced a bill that could lead to
red-light cameras popping up in the state. Existing state law prohibits use of
camera radar by law enforcement officers or agencies.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 3-2 to release a
bill - S2123 - to the chamber floor. The bill would remove the camera restriction
for a period of 18 months to allow two municipalities to use photo enforcement
at traffic signals that are deemed to have a high frequency of red-light
While the committee did advance the bill, the panel stopped
short of recommending the measure for passage. Lawmakers said the issue is
worthy of additional consideration but they're concerned about the effectiveness
of the cameras, northjersey.com
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.
Assemblyman Joseph Coniglio, D-Paramus, the bill's sponsor,
countered that a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that
the cameras, combined with longer yellow lights, reduced red-light violations
by 96 percent.
"The main purpose of this bill is to make our roads safer,"
Coniglio told lawmakers.
Opponents question the claim that cameras are solely
intended to keep people safe. They also say the process denies alleged violators
to confront their accusers.
"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 it," 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 tickets.
- By Keith Goble,
state legislative editor