Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sen. Doherty: Terminate NJ's Red Light Camera Effort

One of our favorite New Jersey State Senators, Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said that accident data collected at intersections where red light cameras are in use show that both the number and total cost of accidents have increased since the cameras were installed. Doherty said that the data, released by the New Jersey Department of Transportation as part of a report on the state’s red light camera pilot program, should lead to an immediate termination of the program.

“Before our pilot program even started, we knew from the experiences of other states that red light cameras are great at generating revenue for the government but are bad at making dangerous intersections safer for drivers,” said Doherty. “It is absolutely no surprise that red light cameras in New Jersey have failed, just as they have everywhere else, in achieving their stated goal of improving driver safety. This complete failure to achieve that primary goal of increasing driver safety should lead to the immediate termination of the red light camera pilot program.”

An analysis of the twenty-four locations that have had red light camera systems operational for at least one full year found that number of right-angle crashes at those intersections decreased by 15% (60 to 51) from the year before the cameras were installed relative to their first year of operation, but the severity of crashes increased. Same direction crashes (rear-end collisions) increased during that time period by 20% (286 to 343). The total number of crashes increased from 577 to 582 (0.9% increase) and the total cost of all collisions at those twenty-four red light camera intersections increased by $1,172,800.

The data was released as part of the “Report on Red-Light Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems – Second Annual Report” by the NJDOT as required by the law which established the state’s five-year pilot program to determine the effectiveness of red light cameras.

“If the Legislature does not move to immediately terminate the pilot program in light of the new data confirming that cameras make intersections more dangerous, that will be proof positive that the real purpose of red light cameras is to give government another way to reach into your pocket through tickets and fines,” added Doherty. “People across New Jersey should demand that their legislators support an immediate repeal of the red light camera pilot program. Even if your town doesn’t currently have cameras installed as part of the pilot program, they may show up in a few years if you don’t act now.”

Doherty maintains an online petition at http://senatenj.com/cameras that residents can sign to support a ban of red light cameras in New Jersey. The petition has already been signed more than 5,500 times.

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