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After months of uncertainty, all red light cameras in New Jersey have officially stopped ticketing drivers after the state legislature declined to renew a five-year pilot program. But this doesn’t mean they’re gone for good.
The program expired Tuesday as red light cameras across the state were deactivated. A number of opponents of the program, including Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, celebrated at a restaurant near one of the cameras.
“Merry Christmas, New Jersey motorists! It is a great day for the motorists of New Jersey, now that this failed program has come to an end,” O’Scanlon said in a statement.
But motorists shouldn’t celebrate too much just yet. Though some towns completely ended their involvement with the program, cameras across the state are still recording violations so the state can collect data. No tickets will be issued, but the cameras will remain in place, making their full return an easier process.
The state Department of Transportation is expected to issue a recommendation about bringing back the cameras in 2015.
Municipalities have raked in millions from the cameras, all the while touting their supposed safety benefits.
But as Watchdog Wire has previously reported, those “benefits” aren’t so clear. A frequently-cited study showing a reduction in crashes used data from just two intersections in Newark. In contrast, a study done in another state showed that red light cameras cause accidents.
Gov. Christie has indicated that he’s against continuing the red light camera program, but supporters like Assemblyman John Wisniewski are adamant about using them to enhance public safety. One of New Jersey’s red light camera operators, American Traffic Solutions, donated $1,000 to Wisniewski in 2013, New Jersey election documents show.
Some municipalities continue to lobby for the cameras, likely because of the revenue they generate. At this time, it unclear how local governments plan to adapt to the loss of red light camera revenue.
Featured Image: Photograph of County Route 546’s eastern terminus at U.S. 1 in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. Taken from Bakers Basin Road facing west. Mr. Matté, Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: red light camera, red light cameras
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