Red-light cameras return to use in N.J.

A red-light camera on Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township, N.J.
A red-light camera on Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township, N.J. (MEL EVANS / AP)
Posted: July 27, 2012

The red-light cameras are back in action.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation on Wednesday told 21 towns they could resume issuing tickets based on information from red-light cameras at 65 intersections.

Tickets also can be issued for violations recorded since June 19, when the red-light camera program was suspended in those towns, the department said. The cameras were operating during the last month, but towns had not been permitted to issue tickets while lights and cameras were inspected.

Cameras at intersections in Cherry Hill, Glassboro, Stratford, Monroe, and 17 other New Jersey communities have been tested and found to be properly calibrated, the department said.

"Drivers are now on notice: If you go through a red light, or you fail to come to a complete stop before making a right turn on red, you will be ticketed," Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn said Wednesday.

Cherry Hill has a backlog of 3,276 red-light violations awaiting review by police officers, deputy solicitor Erin Gill said.

If officers determine the violations, recorded by cameras at Springdale Road and Route 70, are valid, "those motorists will receive tickets," Gill said.

"As Gov. Christie said last night, 'If you don't go through red lights, you have nothing to worry about,' " Cahn said. " 'It's when you go through the intersection when it's red that you have two problems. The first for sure is you're going to get a ticket. The potential is that you could kill yourself or somebody else.' "

The 21 towns were ordered last month to analyze their lights, cameras, and traffic speeds by Aug. 1 to certify that the yellow phase was long enough to meet the standards of the red-light camera pilot program.

The program requires the yellow phase of the light to be at least one second long for every 10 m.p.h. of the prevailing speed of approaching vehicles.

So, if at least 85 percent of cars are going 45 m.p.h., the yellow must be 4.5 seconds long.

After engineers' inspections, "in each case, the results have confirmed that the duration of a yellow light at the authorized intersection meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation," NJDot said Wednesday.

Red-light cameras have been controversial - and lucrative - since New Jersey started the pilot program in 2009 to test their effectiveness in reducing crashes and injuries in 25 municipalities.

A recent Inquirer report showed that cameras at nine intersections in six municipalities in Camden and Gloucester Counties had caught 125,000 drivers and racked up $9.5 million in fines since the first installations in 2010.

A recent survey of New Jersey motorists taken by the AAA Mid-Atlantic motorists' club before the NJDot action showed 61 percent believed the cameras make roads safer, while 35 percent said the main purpose is to generate revenue.

That was the lowest favorable rating of red-light cameras since the question was first asked in 2005, AAA said.

State Sen. Michael Doherty (R., Warren-Hunterdon), who has sponsored a bill to ban red-light cameras in New Jersey, said Wednesday that he continued to oppose the cameras.

"The certification of the 63 red-light cameras in question does nothing to address the propriety of the program as a whole," Doherty said.

Red-light cameras are in place at these intersections in Camden and Gloucester Counties:

Cherry Hill: Route 70 and Springdale Road.

Stratford: Route 30 and White Horse Road/Berlin Road.

Gloucester Township: Four locations on Blackwood-Clementon Road.

Deptford: Route 41 and Deptford Center Road.

Glassboro: Route 47 and Dalton Drive.

Monroe: Route 42 and Route 322/Sicklerville Road.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Corbett this month signed a measure to extend Philadelphia's red-light camera program through 2017 and allow cameras to be installed in Falls, Middletown, and Warminster Townships in Bucks County; Springfield Township in Delaware County; and Norristown and Abington, Horsham, Lower Merion, Lower Providence, Montgomery, Upper Dublin, and Upper Merion Townships in Montgomery County.

Philadelphia now has 108 cameras at 24 intersections, including three new locations: Grant Avenue and Academy Road; Byberry Road and Bustleton Avenue; and Knights and Woodhaven Roads.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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