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Number of rear-enders, cost of damage increase with NJ red-light cameras

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

WHAT DO YOU THINK? A study of red-light cameras at 24 New Jersey intersections shows a 20-percent jump in rear-end crashes, along with a $1.17 million increase in damage costs — reasons why one lawmaker says they should be removed immediately.

“Before our pilot program even started, we knew from the experiences of other states that red light cameras are great at generating revenue for the government but are bad at making dangerous intersections safer for drivers,” state Sen. Mike Doherty said this morning.

“This complete failure to achieve that primary goal of increasing driver safety should lead to the immediate termination of the red light camera pilot program,” he said.

An analysis of the two dozen locations that have had red light camera systems working for at least one full year found that the total number of crashes increased by a fraction, to 582 from 577 (+0.9%).

But while the number of right-angle crashes decreased by 15% (60 to 51), their severity increased, the report by the New Jersey Department of Transportation says.

It also notes that rear-end crashes increased by 20%, to 343 from 286.

Traffic tickets were down, the study says.

The data was released as part of the DOT’s “Report on Red-Light Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems – Second Annual Report,” which was required by the law that established the state’s five-year pilot program to determine the effectiveness of red-light cameras.

Doherty all along has contended that the purpose of the program is to give government “another way to reach into your pocket through tickets and fines.

“Even if your town doesn’t currently have cameras installed as part of the pilot program, they may show up in a few years,” he said.

An online petition drive by Doherty to remove the cameras has drawn more than 5,500 signatures:

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