NJ Red Light Cameras Targeted By New Bill [AUDIO]
If we're not going to completely scrap New Jersey red light camera pilot program, the least we can do is something to fix it.
That's the opinion of Republican Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon who is co-sponsoring bi-partisan legislation to reform the very controversial program.
The proposed bill increases the yellow light timing by one second at all intersections that are equipped with the red light camera systems, eliminating any ambiguity in the timing that has become so controversial. It also lowers the current fine by these electronic devices for making a right turn on red to from $85 (which was the same as running the red completely) to $20. Lastly, it mandates a half-second grace period once the light is red - well before the opposing light has turned green - before a motorist can be ticketed, to ensure they have had ample time to move through the intersections.
"Fairness and justice aren't the exclusive interest of either party, which is why we have strong bipartisan support of this legislation," says O'Scanlon . "I don't care whether you hate these cameras or believe in them, you should be on board with this legislation, it can only improve safety and guarantee that we are treating motorists fairly…..Anyone who is against it is for continuing to rip people off and is for keeping these automated taxing machines ripping people off."
Democratic State senator Nick Scutari says, "Red-light cameras are essentially rigged to operate as revenue raisers for municipalities. I have long opposed their use by local governments and advocated ending the program altogether. Until we are able to accomplish that, we should at least ensure the technology is operating in a way that does not all but guarantee a ticket for motorists attempting to comply with the law."
GOP State Senator Mike Doherty has been a very vocal opponent of the red light program.
"These red light cameras are a form of government intimidation. Our citizens should not be fearful that the government is snooping on their activities at each and every road intersection."
Will this bill mean that towns would no longer be able to treat red light cameras as cash cows?
O'Scanlon says, "Oh no, it won't change that. We should just end this program because it's not about safety. It will still be about revenue."
O'Scanlon is the co-sponsor of legislation to scrap the program entirely, but it's stalled in the legislature.
"The original purpose of the pilot program was traffic safety, not revenue," explained Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle, a Democrat. "Instead, these devices have caused significant driver confusion. If the cameras are not making our roads safer, we should at least help make them fair, which this bill will do."