As with everywhere else, car accidents occur frequently in New Jersey. Accidents are often caused by drivers who are inattentive or intoxicated. Drivers, passengers, children, pedestrians and bike riders may suffer substantial and life altering injuries from such accidents. To prevent accidents and injuries, New Jersey has (like many other states) installed cameras at stop lights to take a picture of drivers and vehicles that run a red light. This pilot program, however, has reached a different result – more accidents and more injuries since the cameras have been installed.
The five-year pilot program was established by the state of New Jersey to determine how effective red light cameras could be. According to the second annual Report on Red-Light Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems created by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT), both the “number and total cost of accidents have increased since the cameras were installed.”
The benefit of the cameras should have been twofold: decrease in the number of accidents and generation of additional revenue for the state government. However, the data on each of the twenty four locations where the cameras were installed indicates that right angle crashes have decreased by 15% but rear end collisions have increased by 20%. Furthermore, the total number of crashes increased as well as the cost of all of the collisions.
The data supports the contention that the cameras should be removed immediately along with putting the pilot program to an end. Senator Mike Doherty concedes that “before our pilot program even started, we knew…that red light cameras are great generating revenue for the government but are bad at making dangerous intersections safer for drivers.” He also supports the argument that the program should be terminated due to the dangerous conditions the cameras have caused. “If the Legislature does not move to immediately terminate the pilot program in light of the new data…, [then] that will be proof positive that the real purpose of red light cameras is to give government another way to reach into your pocket…” he argues.
In light of this argument, Doherty does have an online petition that can be signed by residents to support the end of the pilot program and the ban of the red light cameras. The petition currently has more than 5,500 signatures. Hopefully, the state legislature will consider the petition at their next session and cease the program.
These programs need to ensure the safety of New Jersey residents. If a red light camera has caused an accident for you, then you should consult with a personal injury attorney to find out more about your legal rights. Be sure to exert caution when you drive and, if you are involved in an accident, you should consider discussing your particular situation with a personal injury attorney who may be able to help you receive financial compensation for your injuries.