Brick Pulling the Plug on Red-Light Cameras
Brick Mayor John Ducey announced today that his town is ending its red-light camera program, in the wake of mounting evidence that the controversial vendor-driven practice is a play for revenue rather than an effective approach to traffic safety.
Ducey said Brick's contract with American Traffic Solutions will not be renewed and the town's cameras, which have resulted in the issuance of 74,000 traffic tickets since 2010, will be turned off on Feb. 18.
In an afternoon press conference with traffic-cam critic Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, Ducey noted the "frustrations" about the program Brick residents expressed to him during his mayoral campaign.
"I promised to review our red light camera program and remove them if that review didn’t convince me that they were making our roads safer,” Ducey said. “I have kept that promise. After conducting that review, I am not convinced that the benefit is safety and not revenue. As a result I am not renewing the red light camera contract which is effectively ending red light cameras in Brick Township.”
The decision was hailed by O'Scanlon, who said Ducey was "the first mayor of a New Jersey town that actually has red-light-cameras installed to do the right thing and pull the plug on the program,” O’Scanlon stated. “Too often government officials focus on money while sacrificing what’s right. The mayor is breaking that mold and acting on behalf of the people and not the interests of the camera companies.”
Brick Township was one of the first New Jersey municipalities to install red light cameras as part of a state pilot program, beginning in 2010. Cameras were installed that year at Brick Boulevard and Chambers Bridge Road and Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road. In 2012, cameras were added at the Route 70 and Brick Boulevard.
Ducey said the data he'd been shown as proof of the cameras' traffic safety benefit was unconvincing. O'Scanlon underlined the argument, saying, "There have been no significant reduction in accident rates at camera equipped intersections when you look at accident rates before the cameras and after. . .These things are supposed to improve safety and they’re not doing that - plain and simple."
Both officials said the data points to revenue generation as the sole benefit of the red-light cameras and Ducey said, "I feel strongly that government should not be balancing budgets through punitive measures."
O'Scanlon was more blunt on the revenue motive, calling the camera's "automatic taxing machines" and their deployment at New Jersey intersections
"nothing more than government sanctioned theft.”
Dino Flammia contributed to this report