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Red Light Safety Cameras Making Progress in New Jersey

Have an opinion to express? Send a Letter to the Editor to natalie.davis@patch.com.

A recent report on red-light safety cameras from the New Jersey Department of Transportation has surfaced featuring vocal camera program opponents who are not taking into consideration the bigger picture.

Important statistics—that any traffic safety expert would see as positive progress — aren’t getting the attention they deserve.

The bottom line is citations are down, the often fatal right-angle “T-bone” crashes have decreased and these trends continue to rise at intersections where red-light safety cameras have been operational for two years.

Camera programs are implemented with the sole purpose of positively changing driver behavior to make intersections and roadways a safer place for residents to walk, cycle and drive. Adjustments to bad driving habits don’t happen overnight. These changes come as drivers adapt to the presence of safety cameras, as proven in successful programs across the country. This is also apparent in New Jersey when comparing intersections where cameras have been in operation for two years to those that have only had cameras for one year.

The number of citations issued to red-light safety camera violators decreased by 50 percent after the first year of operation, clearly proving that drivers are changing their behavior. At intersections where cameras have operated for two years, citations dropped by 85 percent when comparing month one to month 24—a significant jump from year one. Right-angle crashes went down by 15 percent at intersections with camera programs operational for one year and 86 percent at intersections with programs in place for two years. Lastly, total crashes are down 57 percent at intersections where cameras have been effectively changing driver behavior for two years.

The safety of New Jersey’s roadways is top priority for this pilot program. It is time people look to the experts to make informed decisions. New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has recommended that the successful pilot program stay in place as they continue to monitor the proven effectiveness of the cameras. Dangerous habits are hard to break, but these facts prove that safety cameras are helping New Jersey drivers learn to be more conscious while approaching an intersection and instilling the importance of always stopping on red.

David Kelly
Exec. Director, National Coalition for Safer Roads
Former Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

clyde donovan December 11, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Here are two main reasons red-light cameras are installed, since it has nothing to do with safety: 1) Ticket revenue for the municipality, from a questionable source. 2) Kickbacks from the contractor installing the red-light camera.
Sick of the trolls December 11, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Don't forget reason 3 "clyde": so "they" can watch you as you go about your business. You know, "them". They're always watching you, "clyde", that's why you can't use your real name on the interwebs, because "they" will come for you. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean "they" aren't after you. It's all part of the conspiracy, man. Maybe you should lay low for a while. Like the rest of your natural life. I know a great spot in the sand where you could stick your head. Nobody will even know it's you.
Patrick K December 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The "National Coalition for Safer Roads" is nothing but a public relations vehicle entirely funded by the red light camera vendor ATS, and their pronouncements are worthless. Why would Mr.Kelly not mention that in his article? The real academic literature shows no safety benefit from red light cameras, see Erke's meta analysis of the literature.

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