Red Light Camera Probe And What It Means For NJ [AUDIO]
Using recent developments in another state that utilizes red light cameras, Assembly Republican Declan O'Scanlon is continuing his assault on New Jersey's controversial pilot program.
Chicago, Illinois has dropped Redflex, a red light camera vendor, amid findings that the company gave improper gifts to the top officials overseeing the program. The chairman of Redflex's parent company resigned earlier this month, reportedly due to the scandal.
Redflex is one of the two major vendors for red light cameras in the Garden State. O'Scanlon said the ethical lapses of camera operators in other jurisdictions is exactly the reason residents lose their trust in government.
"New Jersey should not be getting into bed with companies known for breaking the law," O'Scanlon said.
O'Scanlon, the state's leading opponent of the cameras, also placed much of the blame on New Jersey's vendors for the failure to advance program reforms in the state legislature earlier this week.
He explained, "These companies come out of the woodwork to pressure or contribute their way to thwarting any attempt to reform red light cameras in New Jersey."
The proposed measure would have increased the amber light times at some intersections and prohibited police departments from using the cameras to issue "failure to stop before turning right" citations.
O'Scanlon accused Redflex and American Traffic Solutions, the other New Jersey vendor, of knowingly implementing the program improperly years ago.
"They knew the yellow light times would be short, and they knew it would enrich them by tens of millions of dollars," he said. "They chose to say nothing. That is immoral."
Since the program's implementation, the yellow light timing at 63 New Jersey intersections was re-certified at the direction of the state Department of Transportation. In every case, it was determined the duration of the yellow light met the legislation's language.
When asked if there should be a closer examination of the vendors that supply New Jersey, the state DOT said it plays no role in the selection of red light camera vendors.
"Vendor selection is strictly the responsibility of participating municipalities," the Department said. "The Department's role in this pilot program is to administer the program and evaluate whether red light cameras help reduce the number and severity of crashes."
Responding to O'Scanlon's comments, ATS and Redflex pointed to a recent DOT report that shows driver behavior modifies over time when traffic cameras are present.
"Redflex Traffic Systems is proud of the work we're doing in the State of New Jersey."
"We look forward to working with the Assemblyman on ways to enhance and expand the pilot program so that individuals in the more than 30 New Jersey cities awaiting DOT approval can take advantage of this life-saving technology."
O'Scanlon continues to insist the entire program should be scrapped.