The future of New Jersey’s red light camera pilot program remains up in the air, while municipalities conduct studies on the timing of the amber lights.

Monmouth based Republican Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon has introduced a series of guidelines for testing the red light cameras across the state. Two weeks ago, the program was suspended because the timing of the amber lights associated with many of the cameras was not in accordance with the law.

O’Scanlon says “the law requires that the amber light timing be set to the 85th percentile of actual speeds driven on these roads. As it turned out, many of the cameras were set to the speed limits on these roads, resulting in improper ticketing. The Governor wisely chose to suspend the program until speed tests are performed on each of these cameras to ensure for proper calibration.”

The guiding principle for traffic speed studies is to capture free-flowing speeds under typical conditions. As applied specifically to studies related to signal timing, speeds of measured vehicles must not be influenced by the signal or conditions near the signal. For example, vehicles should neither be slowing down to stop at a red indication (or at the back of a queue) — nor speeding up to clear the intersection during the yellow indication.

O’Scanlon feels the location at which the speeds are measured and how those speeds are measured are equally critical to guarantee accurate amber-light timing. He’s been working with traffic experts and engineers to establish this methodology, it allows for manual or automated timing along with a variety of options for both methods.

“This seems to me to be the only truly fair way to go about these speed tests,” O’Scanlon stated. “These cameras are nothing more than a revenue generator, but when the yellow-light timing is not set according to the law, we’re not just bilking people for money, we’re bilking innocent people for money.”

The towns have until August 1st to submit their findings. Meanwhile, the cameras are still rolling and looking for potential violators. Tickets just can’t be sent out till the issue is resolved.