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The Red Light Camera Scam – Safety or Shakedown?

Jason Allentoff-Townsquare Media
Jason Allentoff-Townsquare Media

You know it’s all a shakedown!

You just need concrete proof!

Well here it is!

Last month a group calling itself the “National Coalition for Safer Roads” was found to be run by American Traffic Solutions…the company that sets up and operates all the red light camera systems around the state.

Last month, according to this report, this same group obtained a great deal of exposure for red light cameras through the “National Stop on Red Week” publicity campaign.

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Several police departments around the country participated, with most news reports treating the issue as a public service announcement.

Documents show the group coordinating this effort, NCSR, is controlled exclusively by the photo ticketing firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS).

The piece then goes on to say that “…for Stop on Red Week, NCSR released a glossy, 18-page manual for elected officials and police chiefs to use to celebrate the benefits of red light cameras.”

“Each new city that signs up for a photo ticketing contract represents millions in revenue for ATS.”

And according to this from NJ Spotlight, last July, they conducted a poll of 600 registered state voters, and they found that 77 percent support the use of these cameras at New Jersey’s busiest intersections to catch those who run red lights.

The report went on to say that the NCSR is a coalition of groups, like the National Safety Council and America Walks, that advocate use of the cameras.

Only 22 percent of the 600 voters oppose the idea. Of those who opposed, 5 percent said the cameras could cause more problems and 4 percent said it was just another way for the government to make money.

Assembly Transportation Chair John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), author of the law that created the pilot, wasted no time saying he wanted to see the program expanded. Indeed, Wisniewski sent out his press release hailing the survey even before the release detailing the results of the survey.

One only has to wonder, why Assembly Wisniewski, why?

(Oh, and by the way, the good assemblyman is considering a run for the Governor’s seat in 2013!)

Scam a lam a ding dong anyone?

Adding to this insult is the injury that the state wants to double the number of towns with red-light cameras by 2013.

The cameras are part of a five-year pilot program.

The State Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the information-gathering effort, has a mandate to have two dozen municipalities with working cameras when the pilot ends in January 2013. Now, department officials said, they’re getting more aggressive in finding towns that are serious about the initiative.

Red-light cameras are currently operating in Brick, Deptford, East Brunswick, Glassboro, Gloucester Township, Jersey City, Linden, Newark, New Brunswick, Stratford, Wayne and Woodbridge.

So next time you approach an intersection with a red light camera…don’t think safety!

Think shakedown!

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