Remember red light cameras and the tickets that would arrive in the mail weeks after an incident making it hard to remember your circumstances? There’s a new idea in town.

Smart parking meters.

They use camera technology that will take photos of your car almost instantly if the time runs out and, you guessed it, send you a ticket in the mail. How well do these work for a township? In a trial, Palisades Park saw a three fold increase in parking tickets in a five month period. These smart meters are brilliant for a township eager to make revenue. But dumb and a bad idea for drivers.

For one thing, unlike a paper ticket left on your windshield, it will be easy to forget the circumstances of what happened when you’re not notified until weeks later. There could have been circumstances you could use to fight the ticket in court but those circumstances will be long forgotten. Also, the state will get a cut. Well, of course they will. A $2 surcharge will be added to your fine that goes to the state.

A former legislative liaison for the Administrative Office of the Courts, Dan Phillips, said, “We issue in New Jersey about 2½ million parking tickets a year. And the increase from this small pilot ... we could go from 2½ million to 6 or 7 million tickets in New Jersey and a commensurate increase in suspensions and warrants.”

More suspensions and warrants and a tripling of tickets for the public? How great is that!? Look, in New Jersey where the state and the municipalities can’t figure out how to fix property taxes and the unbearable cost of living, the answer should not fall on the backs of the people any longer. Do your jobs and start figuring out where the waste is and stop digging deeper into our pockets.

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