December 16th 2014 marked the conclusion of New Jersey experimental red light program, a welcomed piece of news to all state residents.
The program, which has 73 cameras across the state (19 in Newark alone), was implemented five years ago. Originally seen as a mechanism to promote driver safety, the cameras and their results have had mixed results at best. During the short trial period it has come under heavy scrutiny from both drivers and officials alike.
While safety was the main concern when the cameras were introduced, the effects on safety and the reduction of accidents at these intersections has been largely disputed. While supporters suggest that the number of overall accidents is down, detractors point to flaws in data collecting process. Some say at intersections without the cameras, accidents were logged even if it occurred well before the intersection, as a means to mark these as more dangerous. Therefore, the validity of statistics has been in question by many.
Furthermore, the systems as a whole are considered suspect due to short yellow-light durations. Coincidentally, earlier last year the courts were forced to throw out over 17,000 infractions after drivers failed to receive tickets in the mail.
While the constant “eye in the sky“ could be considered a safeguard which causes drivers to be more cautious in the attempt to avoid tickets/accidents, the majority has spoken with the red light cameras being shut down. These cameras are seen merely as a failure due to glitches and subjective data collection, primarily used as a means of monetary gain rather than public safety.