Red-Light Cameras Reduce Car Crashes in New Jersey
New data from the New Jersey Township of Edison shows since the installation of automated right-light cameras there has been a 71% reduction in the number of right-angle collisions at three of the township’s most dangerous intersections.
Overall, accidents at those intersections fell 32%.
The cameras, installed in 2012, are designed to deter dangerous driving, reduce accidents, and catch drivers who run red lights.
The cameras take photos of vehicles that run red lights. Often, the images are clear enough that the license plate can be read. The owner of the vehicle is then fined. However, points are not assessed against the owner’s license, because the photos usually can’t show who was driving at the time of the violation.
Newark has also reported that red-light cameras in the city have led to a 64% drop in accidents since the cameras were installed four years ago. Again, right-angle collisions, which are among the deadliest type of car crashes, were the most reduced, by 69%.
Across New Jersey, cameras have been installed at 76 intersections in 25 communities in a pilot program scheduled to end in December of 2014.
Critics of the program call it a “big brother” ploy to increase revenues from fines. Some lights were actually adjusted to change from yellow to red more quickly.
Last spring, the manufacturer of one type of camera used in New Jersey set up a $4.2 million fund to compensate plaintiffs in a lawsuit that charged that drivers received tickets even though they didn’t have enough time to brake. Last spring, the manufacturer of one type of camera used in New Jersey set up a $4.2 million fund to compensate plaintiffs in a lawsuit that charged that drivers received tickets even though they didn’t have enough time to brake.
A preliminary report by the Department of Transportation showed that accidents did not fall at all intersections with the cameras. In fact, at 24 New Jersey intersections accidents overall actually increased by less than 1%, and rear-end accidents increased by 20% — perhaps due to people braking too quickly in response to abbreviated yellow lights.
According to the New Jersey State Police, 362 vehicle crashes have produced fatalities so far this year. Reckless driving is often to blame.