State Senator Mike Doherty has introduced a bill to ban municipalities from using red light camera systems which detect violations of traffic control signals and automate the process of issuing tickets to drivers. He explains, "I don't like the idea of 'Big Brother' watching us on every street corner and I don't see any evidence that it's made New Jersey's roads any safer."

Traffic Cameras

The legislation would prevents towns that do not currently use red light cameras from employing the systems, and would prohibit municipalities that already use the systems from renewing contracts with the vendors that operate and maintain them. Additionally, the bill removes the provision from current law that provides law enforcement with a 90-day time frame to issue tickets for violations of traffic control devices, including those generated by red light camera systems.

"Red light cameras are just another example of the intrusion of government into our lives violating our privacy.........It just is not the United State of America that I grew up in. Government should not be on every street corner snooping on it's citizens," says Doherty. He also thinks the red light cameras violate our due process rights because we can't confront our accusers. He asks, "How do you argue with a camera and a picture and a letter that shows up in the mail 90 days later with a ticket?"

According to the national Governors Highway Safety Association 24 states and the District of Columbia have at least one red light camera and nine states ban them (Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin).

"Although red light cameras were sold to the public as a way to make dangerous intersections safer, it's become clear that municipalities are primarily interested in the revenues generated by the cameras through tickets and fines," says Doherty. "When combined with serious questions regarding personal privacy and the process and constitutionality of being ticketed by a machine, I believe it's time that we put this ill-conceived red light camera experiment to rest."

At least one national study claims red light cameras can reduce serious crashes at intersections by almost 25%. Other studies suggest accidents are more likely to happen when a red light camera is involved because drivers would rather slam on the brakes at a yellow light than risk getting a ticket in the mail.

Doherty says, "People should be free to travel without worrying that their every move is being tracked in a database somewhere. These systems represent a further encroachment of our civil liberties, all to help local politicians keep spending. It's time to say enough's enough and pull the plug on red light cameras."