NJ Assemblyman Questioning Use Of Red Light Cameras After Footage Of Crashes Posted On YouTube

ENGLEWOOD, NJ (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey state assemblyman is raising questions about the effectiveness of red light cameras after one of the nation’s largest distributors of those cameras released video showing drivers running red lights throughout the Garden State in 2011.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

American Traffic Solutions posted the video on YouTube. In several cases, drivers can be seen going through red lights and then slamming on their brakes to avoid a collision with another car. In other cases, cars do collide and wreck in the intersection.

Watch the YouTube video below:

The company says the videos shows the dangers of running red lights, but Monmouth County assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon calls them reverse ATM’s that simply take money from drivers.

He says the drivers were not aware they are going through a red light and says fines won’t stop that.

Many drivers seem to agree. Bill, a driver in Englewood, says red light cameras are useless.

“It’s just a way to steal from residents of northern New Jersey,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people go through red lights, they stop at red lights. Accidents happen every day, but I don’t think they’re really attributed to people running red lights.”

But John from Teaneck says he thinks the cameras should stay in place because drivers don’t pay attention.

“You can’t have a cop on every corner, so it makes sense to have them there,” he said. “No one is regarding the speed limit or red lights a lot of the time, so as long as they check them, I think they work.”

American Traffic Solutions says the intersections involved were designated as dangerous by Department of Transportation officials, adding that the goal is to reinforce the need for drivers to slow down and stop.

A survey conducted earlier this year in the Garden State by The National Coalition for Safer Roads found that 77 percent of registered voters favor red light cameras.

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said the cameras change their driving behavior.

The intersections profiled in the video were in East Brunswick, Linden, Union Township, Jersey City, Pohatcong, Monroe Township, Deptford Township and Rahway.

There are currently red light cameras installed in 25 New Jersey cities.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section…

  • James C. Walker

    Red light cameras are just a cynical means to make money with improper engineering and unethical traffic management policies. If the yellows were long enough for the actual approach speeds of traffic, the cameras would not record enough violations to even pay their own basic costs. And please note that the cameras did NOT prevent those crashes and near misses in the video. The whole red light camera industry is based on a scam and needs to be banned.
    See the science on our website. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Schwinn

    What a surprise, the “National Coalition for Safer Roads” is run by who other than American Traffic Solutions! See: http://thenewspaper.com/news/35/3585.asp

    Is it any surprise that their “studies” show how good their devices are? Does the media do ANY researching anymore to highlight these clear conflict of interest issues?!

  • sadjfhjkweyr87435

    anyone in a state with a red light camera should buy that photoblocker spray for the license plate the keeps the camera from taking a good picture. those cameras are illegal

  • asjfh8978934jfgwehjrh

    red light cameras should be banned. they are illegal. and if u get hit from behind by a driver who stops short because of a red light camera, call a lawyer and sue them for big $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    • Kris

      Wait, what? If you get hit from behind by a driver who stops short… How exactly is that going to happen? Did you mean to say if you hit someone because they stopped short? Good luck suing; red light camera or not, if you rear-end someone, it’s your fault for following too close.

  • JM

    Lets see Henry said “Most red late runners don’t do it on purpose – they fail to see the signal because they’re lost, distracted or impaired” I think that he is right, although not for the same reasons as myself. I believe if they are “lost” they ought to pull over and figure it out, not be irresponsibly lost.Those who are “distracted” are probably texting or looking at the music selection. Those who are drunk or on drugs are “impaired”- even more reasons to have these cameras in NJ and…

  • Joe

    If you don’t break the law you have nothing to worry about. I don’t worry about getting a ticket. I worry about someone breaking the law and running into me or mine. Red light cameras help raise awareness, especially for law breakers. So who would really be against the the video “capture”? Guess.

  • mj

    what do you do if several people in a family drive a car and you get a ticket in the mail a month later ? no one can recall who drove the car that day . the person tha owns the car is responsible . that doesn’t seem fair. just more big brother, loss of civil liberties and heading towards more of a police state all in the name of public safety . oh yeah and the rtowns love the extra cash that they get basically for free

    • Truth

      Stop blaming the town and maybe instructing your family to be more responsible while driving is a better idea.

      • mj

        yes the towns / politicians are innocent of greed . it will be interesting to see your reaction if you ever get a ticket in the mail and don’t know who is responsible for it. wonder how you will handle that

        • Kris

          That will never happen because I don’t let people drive my car who run red lights. If you do, you’re a fool.

        • Tommy

          in this country everyone has a right to face their accuser in a court of law – a person, not a machine.

          • Winston Smith

            I dunno, if I got mugged on the street I’d hope that there’s a surveillance camera (a MACHINE) nearby to catch the thug. Similarly, if I got hit by some fool who isn’t paying attention to where his 2,000# “bullet” is going …
            Just STOP at stoplights and there’s no problem!

    • Truth

      I have received a ticket myself in Palisades Park for not making a complete stop prior to making a right turn. I stopped for a second but was more of a rolling right turn. Hey it was 4 am with no cars. After that, I stop for 5 seconds prior to making a turn. I’m very careful wherever they have red light cameras. They are posted and not a secret. The people who are in the video who ran lights don’t look lost but are not attentive. People who are lost usually drive very slow since they are LOST. Instead of looking at the light, they observed the vehicle in front of them moving and they think it’s green for them. You can see the left turn signal turning green while the light is red for going straight. The assemblymen is an idiot who probably runs red lights has a lot of voters who does but still an idiot. I’m glad I have family voters in Monmouth county because you just lost a least 12 votes.

  • Henry

    The Linden left-turn accident (begins at 0:58 on ATS’ YouTube video) was not caused by a red light runner. The light was yellow. The left turner obliviously started his left turn too soon, several seconds before the light went red.

    I wonder if ATS – sespite their supposed expertise – failed to notice that the Linden segment was not an example of red light running, or if they liked the violence in the video so much that they decided to put it up anyway, hoping the public would not notice.

    Cameras give a false sense of security, because even with a $500 fine (Calif.), they don’t stop the real late runners.
    Most real late runners don’t do it on purpose – they fail to see the signal because they’re lost, distracted or impaired. To stop them, local engineers need to improve the visual cues that say “You are coming to an intersection.” Florida’s DOT found that improved pavement markings (plain old paint!) cut running by up to 74%, without cameras. Make the signal lights brighter, bigger in diameter, add backboards to them, and place the poles on the NEAR side of the intersection, not so far away. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs, for the cross streets.
    Longer yellows (one extra second drops violations by 2/3, and the effect is permanent) and improved visual cues are cheap to do so can be done all over town, unlike cameras, which are expensive, increase rearenders, and can drive shoppers and tourists away.

    Who needs cameras?

  • Wallace Freeman

    “A survey conducted earlier this year in the Garden State by The National Coalition for Safer Roads found that 77 percent of registered voters favor red light cameras.” Is that why the $cameras have lost every popular vote to which they’ve been put? Is that why the $camera companies fight tooth and nail against allowing registered voters to decide whether to enter into the $cam?

  • JS

    While it is true that people might run a red light once by accident (and be slapped on the wrist with a fine for doing so), the majority of red light runners do so because of a pattern of inattentiveness (or blantant disregard for the law). Running red lights is dangerous, as this video and countless other studies can attest to. By penalizing people EVERY time they run a red light, we can influence these dangerous behavior patterns and improve the safety of our roads.

    As a Jersey trained driver, I’d request that they be installed here in Westchester, where it has become common practice for people to begin slowly rolling through red lights while they wait for it to change.Bad drivers exist everywhere, because idiocy exists everywhere.

  • Jerry

    This assemblymans non use of common sense, life saving methods, simply, is placating to those who care only about their civil rights as well as their pocketbooks? Evidently he feels the votes favor this nonsense.
    Guess what………. if your reckless driving is going to affect my families welfare ,then my civil rights super cede that of yours and the fine you must pay to wake up & mature.

    • Winston Smith

      YOU BET! “Your right to swing your fist ENDS at the tip of my nose!” What kind of c**p is that: “drivers were not aware they are going through a red light”? Would he also justify “drivers were not aware a child ran into the street”, “drivers were not aware the car ahead of them was slowing down”, “drivers were not aware [whatever]”?
      Then he goes on to declare: “fines won’t stop that”? Why not include “drunk driving”, “speeding”, “Stop Sign violations” and every other traffic safety law in his “that”? it makes just as much sense! Why not just do away with the “reverse ATM” of having to be tested and pay for a Driver’s License in the first place?
      Then, the same City Council is/was considering making “texting while driving” illegal? So, “you must not be distracted while you are driving” but you must be held blameless if your being distracted can cause physical damage, injury or death?

  • pete

    This ASSemblyman is just a plain idiot, and proof for what kind of people we have in Government who screw every good thing up. If you ever had a RED-Light accident you will know how hard it is to prove who jumped the light. For that alone, the cameras are perfect. And what is wrong to show the moron on You-Tube, etc.?

  • truth

    jersey people are known to be reckless drivers! they don’t care about anyone but themselves. they even honk and throw a fit at pedestrians crossing the street!!! they won’t stop for pedestrians. instead, they’ll just keep on going in hope the pedestrian will stop crossing the street. so no matter what’s out there… a cop, surveillance cameras, or even a futuristic gps tracking device, it won’t stop crazy jerseys lol

    • You're an idiot!

      What a generalization….I wonder if we too a look at the cameras in the NY boroughs how many do you think would have accidents….I’m betting more than you saw on this video!

  • JB

    People don’t want to get tickets. Towns want to make money. Oh yeah, and the fewer accidents thing. Almost forgot about that.

  • SokrMom

    This is like Exhibit A under the “Boneheaded Articles” heading. So red-light cameras don’t work because some people still run red lights? It seems obvious to me that the cameras cannot help but make people more conscious of whether the light is about to turn, and more likely to stop and not risk a ticket. Some people have a problem with that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. And the rest of us would like to just live another day without being picked off in an intersection by a bad driver crossing against the light.

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