If you are a "beat the light" kind of driver then relief from those pesky red light cameras may be on the way. According to the Hunterdon County Democrat State Senators Michael Doherty and Jennifer Beck have introduced legislation that seeks to ban red light cameras in New Jersey.
New Jersey may be joining nine other states where the populist calls for privacy violations has taken precedent over the proven safety benefits of automatic enforcement. A study released by the Texas Transportation Institute showed that red light related crashes decreased in Texas cities by 25%. The study looks at data collected over three years, NJ's red light cameras three year data on red light intersection crashes. A 2007 study in the City of Philadelphia showed that red light violations declined at two dangerous intersections on US1 by 96% after cameras were installed.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which conduct the 2007 Philadelphia study added this note in its press release:
light running causes about 800 crash deaths per year, and about half of the
people who are killed aren't the signal violators. They're pedestrians and
people in vehicles that are struck by motorists committing the violations.
Another 165,000 people are estimated to be injured in red light running
crashes each year."
To put that into perspective, the number of people injured or killed by red light running annually exceeds the population of Paterson.
We agree with Senator Doherty's argument that red light cameras should not be used as revenue generators for cash starved municipalities, but this can be corrected by following Pennsylvania's red light camera model which directs the surplus revenue toward traffic safety programs and projects. The program known as ARLE has paid for projects such as upgraded signals, pedestrian bumpouts and sharrows.
Maybe the state legislature should send a copy of the legislation to those NJ families whose lives have been ruined by those who ignored traffic signals and ask for their opinion on it.