Red Light Camera Changes Considered [POLL/AUDIO]
If you've been expecting an end to New Jersey's red light camera program, don't get your hopes up. Even state lawmakers opposed to the program understand that isn't an option at this point. Instead, they are proposing changes to the controversial pilot program, slated to end next year.
The bills discussed Thursday in the Assembly would lengthen the time of a yellow light, and prohibit right turns on red, at any intersection with red light cameras in place.
Essentially, the proposals would limit the number of suspicious violations and improve driver safety.
Two common themes emerged from testimony offered by New Jersey officials and traffic experts - consistency and no need to rush any changes.
Consistency Desired at Intersections
Daniel Desario with Langan Engineering said drivers should have the same expectations at each intersection they go through.
"Regardless if you're in our state, other states," said Desario. "Regardless if you're in Edison, Trenton, Lawrenceville, what have you."
Douglas Bartlett, a project manager with MBO Engineering in Bordentown, said New Jersey's thousands of traffic signals operate on the same formula.
"We're now talking about taking 85 signals out of that and changing them to a longer yellow," he explained.
A similar opinion was offered by Union Township Police Sergeant Robert Christie, who said extended timing at only select lights would cause more accidents on the state's roads.
Several testifiers suggested the best course of action would be to let the pilot program complete without making any modifications.
Roselle Park Police Chief Paul Morrison, said, "I would like to see us collect more data so we can make a more informed decision as to whether we're going to continue the way the pilot program was designed...or should there be changes made?"
Thursday's testimony proved overwhelming support for the red light cameras. A number of towns pointed to statistics that showed a drop in dangerous accidents at intersections, once a red light camera was installed.