New Jersey Assemblyman Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr. (R) has started a petition via Change.Org to eliminate the red-light camera program in the Garden State, which was posted on the politicians Facebook page on September 4, 2013.
O’Scanlon serves the 13th Legislative district which covers the Eastern portion and Shore towns of Monmouth County and is the Budget Officer and has been in the General Assembly since 2008. O’Scanlon sates in his petition that the red light cameras don’t improve safety. “We know this from decades of data collected throughout the US and Europe. If you watch the videos of people causing major accidents at intersections virtually all of them are not caused by scofflaws choosing to blindly run red lights; they are you or me on a bad day after a fight with our spouse or a screaming kid in the back seat or worried about our jobs. If the prospect of death isn’t enough to stop someone from absent-mindedly running through a red light, then an $85 or $140 or $5000 fine isn’t going to either.”
O’Scanlon also took a swipe at the legitimacy of the cameras and the integrity of corrupt politicians as the real reason behind the program. “Unless lights with cameras are set up to entrap motorists with short yellow lights, there are not enough red light runners to pay for the devices. Short yellow lights make intersections more dangerous too , so in the name of ill-gotten revenue we are sacrificing safety. The red light camera companies know this.”
“The officials presiding over and advocating for these insidious devices should too. The camera companies are more than happy to sacrifice the health and welfare and lives for that matter of motorists in order to keep the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing out of our pockets and into theirs. Some of that money is “invested” into the campaign coffers of passively corrupt elected officials , who then vote to keep the gravy train rolling while the best interests of New Jersey residents be damned.”
O’Scanlon added that “it’s disgusting, and if we continue to permit them to so blatantly take advantage of us, we will only have ourselves to thank for their next attempts at picking our pockets and endangering our families.”
This is not the first time the program’s integrity came under suspicion. In June of 2012, I wrote about how the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) had stopped 21 of 25 towns from issuing red light summonses based on the video evidence provided by cameras placed at intersections. The suspension affected 63 of the 85 intersections that were part of the pilot program statewide.
In a press release at that time, the NJDOT states that “it has come to the attention of the DOT that the pilot program legislation specifies a formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light in a traffic signal that differs from the legally required, nationally accepted formula that NJDOT or municipalities use when installing traffic signals. The difference in the formulas may or may not require a longer duration for the yellow light.”
Remember this is just a petition, the law still stands, so if you race the red light, expect to see a photo finish.