A New Jersey lawmaker is calling into question whether or not Red-light cameras are providing a real safety benefit or if they’re just designed to shakedown motorists. At a press conference on Monday in Tinton Falls, N.J., state Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-NJ), presented a video recorded by Barnet Fagel, operator of Chicago-based forensic video service, Red Light Doctor, which shows that the yellow light time at several red-light camera intersections falls below what is required by law, which is allegedly causing drivers to be ticketed illegally.
In New Jersey, yellow lights timings are supposed to follow the standard of one second for every ten 10 mph of the posted speed limit. However, Fagel found that several of the red light cameras lasted about two-tenths of a second shorter than what was required by law.
According to O’Scanlon, the shorter yellow lights have resulted in a higher number of red light camera tickets being issued.
"In New Jersey the number of red-light running related collisions and violations continues to decrease. Yellow-light timing for all ATS customers is set and certified by (New Jersey) DOT,” said Charles Territo, vice president of communications for American Traffic Solutions, a vendor for red-light cameras in N.J., told the Star-Ledger in defense of the cameras.
In June 2012, seventy-four percent of the state’s red light cameras were temporarily suspended by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) after questions arose about yellow light timings. The suspension was lifted a month later after the DOT found the light timings to be in compliance with the law.
The questionable legality of red-light cameras has been brought to attention across several states and localities. In Los Angeles, city officials ordered the cameras turned off and collections for tickets to cease in May 2013 and eight other states prohibit the use of red-light cameras according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In some municipalities, motorists have outright stopped paying red light camera tickets in defiance of their implementation.
As for case of whether the cameras are designed and implemented for safety or profit, this video evidence may just point to the latter.
Watch the video footage above and decide for yourself.