Will New Jersey Red Light Cameras Be Turned Off?

Gov. Chris Christie is leaning toward eliminating red-light cameras after a five-year test was fraught with glitches and gripes, even as data showed fewer crashes at intersections with the equipment.

A pilot program begun in 2009 that snaps photos of vehicles running stop signals expires in December, and no lawmaker has sponsored a bill to extend it. Christie, a second-term Republican, has said he's inclined not to continue the state's experiment with the cameras, which operate at 76 intersections in 25 municipalities, from Newark to Cherry Hill.

 After New York became the first U.S. city to use red-light cameras in the 1990s, more than 500 municipalities in 24 states followed, including Pennsylvania. Some local and state officials are now reconsidering the programs after outcry and lawsuits from drivers who say the equipment is unfair, error-prone and can cause accidents. Last year, the total number of camera programs fell for the first time, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"If a simple human interaction took place between a driver and a police officer, the chances are they would just say don't let it happen again and give you a warning," said Scot DeCristofaro, who was mailed an $85 ticket for driving through a red light in Stratford, N.J. "There's no discretion, it becomes a matter of this really being a money grab as opposed to being about safety."  Read More


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