You'll remember with no fondness at all the red light camera program in the Garden State. It's been retired but not after taking over $150 million from the pockets of New Jersey drivers. It was the bane of many.

Consider this a sequel only worse. Legislation was introduced last week in the Assembly that calls for another five year pilot program. This one? Speed cameras. Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti wants to put cameras in work zones and have speeding tickets issued without a police officer ever pulling you over. Just like the red light camera program, it's the registered owner of the vehicle that will get the ticket, not necessarily the driver. Just like the red light camera program, you won't be assessed points on your license, but you will be charged a $100 fine for going in excess of 11 mph over the posted speed limit. Keep in mind the posted speed limits inside these work zones suddenly drop to maybe 50 mph or even 45 mph and we all know damn well that no one slows down to that in real world driving, not even cops. So this will be like shooting fish in a barrel. Another problem with this is many times a work zone is established on a New Jersey highway but no work is actually occurring and no workers are even present. The camera will not care.

The biggest problem with this is it isn't really about work zone safety. It's about getting the public to accept speed cameras in a way that sounds reasonable at first, then later expanding the cameras to all highways everywhere. Just like with red light cameras, I don't want cameras replacing police officers. We shouldn't be ticketed months after an event which we have no chance of properly recalling in context. The legislation calls for the ticket to be received by the registered owner no longer than 90 days after the incident. Really? You're going to have a chance to recall why you were traveling at 12 mph over the limit some 85 days afterwards? You'll clearly remember in July that someone was tailgating you dangerously in April? It takes away any opportunity to defend yourself and state your case.

This is just another pathetic money grab from politicians who I'm sure will be courted by the camera companies. We've seen it before with the red light camera program. If you'd like to read the entire bill, read A5082 here. It's bad news folks, and you'd better speak up and demand it not pass.

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