The red light camera suspension earlier this week came as good news to many drivers, who find the auto-policing to be a costly annoyance for many reasons.
But the red light camera suspension was not a welcome update to all involved, as many municipalities find the devices to be handy little moneymakers for cash-strapped towns. Red light cameras don’t need healthcare, pensions or paid days off — they just churn out tickets that may or may not be just and leave drivers all over feeling edgy that their movements might be tracked by invisible robot policecams.
So the red light camera suspension in New Jersey was met with cheers from motorists in the state — but many felt that they should get money paid for red light camera tickets refunded after the reason the red light camera program suspension occurred came to light.
The issue with red light cameras in New Jersey probably is far more widespread, and is part of a larger one when you bring automation into law enforcement. Like the DUI breathalyzer issue in Washington DC before it, the red light camera suspensions in DC were due to the fact that the devices were improperly calibrated — meaning that tickets were issued when an incorrect window of yellow was allowed for, causing some drivers to get unfair tickets.
Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka spoke to press about the red light camera suspension — according to the mayor and the news, the policy change has been a pain for cities and towns:
“For Linden, that has meant taking a radar gun and tracking hundreds of cars as they pass through the four approaches to each of the three intersections that have the cameras, then checking the length of the yellow light based on the speed that at least 85 percent of the cars are going, as required by the legislation that created the camera program… According to the DOT, many of the towns have been using posted speed limits to time their yellow lights, which doesn’t conform to the law.
“‘It’s a logistical nightmare, but it’s something we’ve got to conform to,’ Gerbounka said.”
When a real, live cop instead of a red light camera issues a ticket, there can be human error, but a red light camera will make the same mistake over and over — essentially bilking a state’s drivers of untold sums in fines for offenses that never actually occurred.
Do you think red light cameras should be suspended in more places?