NJ’s red light camera program to end Tuesday
New Jersey's five-year red light camera pilot program ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. But one of the program's most vocal opponent warns, "it ain't over till it's over."
Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon (R-Red Bank) has fought the red light cameras tooth and nail since the pilot program's inception, and he's happy to see it come to an end.
"New Jersey will be the first state in the nation to have cameras, and then 'kick them out,' en masse. We will be a pioneer in that respect," O'Scanlon said.
Since the cameras have been in operation, there has been no demonstrable record of them saving lives or decreasing accidents, according to O'Scanlon.
But the assemblyman warns that New Jersey may not have seen the end of the companies that run these cameras, even though camera enforcement is ending. "They are known for leaving their equipment recording, and then making up statistics about how much red light running increases."
Another red light camera opponent, state Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Washington), agrees that the end of the red light camera pilot program is a "great victory."
Doherty said nearly 7,100 people signed an online petition on his website to support legislation he sponsors to ban red light cameras, which he sees as a sign of the substantial frustration people have with the automated ticketing systems.
But Doherty cautions that there is an effort at hand to renew the program, and citizens must remain vigilant.
"Towns that are addicted to ticket revenues are scheming with red light camera companies on ways to keep the money flowing, and some are even lobbying for the addition of speed cameras as a new stream of revenue," Doherty said in an emailed statement on Dec. 15.
Some towns were blinded by the extreme revenue brought in by the red light cameras, which reached upwards of a million dollars at some intersections, according to Doherty.
There are some government officials, like Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who are fighting to keep the program and even want to see it expand because they think it reduces accidents. State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Livingston) also supports continuing the program.
The Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie would have to intervene with legislation to save the program, and that is unlikely to happen.
About 24 New Jersey towns installed the cameras under the five-year pilot program. Newark, Linden, Brick, Red Bank, New Brunswick and Union are among those municipalities involved in the program.
O'Scanlon plans to hold an event at Brick House Tavern Tap in South Plainfield Tuesday night to mark the end of the program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.