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Western New Jersey

Red light cameras under fire in New Jersey

Red light cameras under fire in New Jersey

POHATCONG TWP., Pa. - A community in Warren County, New Jersey has expressed concerns with traffic light cameras aimed at keeping people from running red lights.

But now, the state's legislature is considering adding speed enforcement cameras too.

Pohatcong Township's mayor is trying to stop it dead in the water.

The red-light cameras were implemented through a pilot program about four years ago, and expire in December.

The legislature could choose to not renew the program. It could also go as far as expanding camera capabilities.

Pohatcong Township Mayor James Kern believes that would be a mistake, given the headaches the current cameras are already causing.

"I think that wanting to expand it is, simply put, crazy because I can only imagine the problems that are going to happen if you have speed cameras issuing citations as well," Kerns said.

Drivers have complained about the accuracy of the current technology.

"I think they cause more problems than they solve. I have seen a lot of people stop very short, and come very close to rear-ending each other," said Joseph Torres.

"The lights are timed such, so that there isn't enough time in the center to actually get through before the light changes. I understand from some friends, they have been given tickets because they are slightly over the white line when they stop," said Eileen Page.

Other complaints include long delays in the time it takes for tickets to be issued.

"The tickets for the whole state of New Jersey, from what I understand, the company had a computer problem. State law in New Jersey says the citations have to be sent out within a certain period of time and they could not hit that period of time. So all the people that got tickets in that window, the tickets were essentially void because the people were not given the proper notification of the summons," Kerns said.

For those reasons, Kerns is pushing for an ordinance that would prohibit the cameras for speed-enforcement use within the township.

"I want Pohatcong Township to be proactive and make sure the cameras don't turn into speed cameras as well," Kerns said.

In a recent report, the New Jersey Department of Transportation said the cameras are working, but added more data was needed for a final assessment.

American Traffic Solutions claims the current technology is improving driver behavior.

Council will introduce the ordinance at Tuesday's meeting. It could vote on it as early as mid September.

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