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Assemblyman Says Red Light Cameras Not Working as Promised

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon responds to Patch article by saying red light cameras "don't increase safety" and instead "give these private companies and governments the ability to pull money out of our pockets in the name of saf

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican who represents the state’s 13th Legislative District in Monmouth County, responded to today’s (Oct. 16) Lawrenceville Patch article about the statistical increase in accidents at the red light camera-controlled intersection of Route 1 (Brunswick Pike) and Bakers Basin Road/Franklin Corner Road by issuing a statement this afternoon saying that red light cameras are “not decreasing accidents as promised.”

“I am not going to be as disingenuous as the municipal officials and camera company spokespeople and manipulate or misrepresent what these statistics tell us," O'Scanlon said. "Those officials take every instance of a reduction in accidents and claim that the cameras work - no matter how statistically insignificant the data might be. If we were going to play their game our headline would scream ‘Red Light Cameras INCREASE Accidents by 100 percent!’

"I won't stoop to their level and make that claim,” he continued. “What we can say is that we are finding, and will continue to find, exactly what has been found in other states and jurisdictions that have experimented with these devices over the past several decades - basically that these cameras don't increase safety, and in many instances reduce it. What these cameras do is give these private companies and governments the ability to pull money out of our pockets in the name of safety."

Using data provided by the Lawrence Township police department, Lawrenceville Patch reported that a total of 25 accidents (involving five injuries but no deaths) happened at or within 200 feet of the intersection between Nov. 18, 2010, and June 29, 2011 – before the cameras were installed – compared to 49 accidents (nine injuries, no deaths) between Nov. 18, 2011, and June 29 of this year after the cameras were in place.

Eighteen of the 25 collisions that happened during the pre-camera sample period involved rear-end impacts, while rear-end impacts factored into 35 of the 49 crashes during the sample period with the cameras.

Between Nov. 18, 2011, and Oct. 10 of this year – the most recent date for which statistics were available – tickets were issued for a total of 9,342 violations, according to the police statistics.

"This Lawrenceville data is clear evidence that these cameras are not having the desired effect,” O’Scanlon said. “They’ve written over $1,000,000 worth of citations while accidents increased substantially. What camera proponents like to point out as evidence that they are changing behavior is that the number of tickets being issued at camera intersections goes down over time – to them indicating that we are changing behavior. But the behavior that changes isn't the behavior that causes accidents, as can be seen by the Lawrenceville statistics. We are simply making drivers paranoid and overly cautious – sometimes to the detriment of safety.

“We are not saying definitively that the cameras are causing these accidents,” O’Scanlon added. “We can confidently say that the cameras net affect at this particular intersection has been either neutral or substantially negative. Is more than a million dollars per year – from this one intersection - being siphoned out of the wallets of taxpayers worth it? The answer is unquestionably no.”

He concluded by saying, “Accident rates at any intersection fluctuate year to year. I think we are going to learn that while some intersections have seen a decrease in accidents, others will see an increase. But most of these fluctuations have nothing to do with the cameras; it is all a matter of standard deviation. The question we are left with is, are these cameras necessary or even marginally beneficial from a safety standpoint? The answer is, no.”

 

A PDF copy of O’Scanlon's statement can be found in the media box above.

 

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Lawrence Guy October 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
You know what - if it creates more money for the township and causes even a little bit of tax relief in my pocket, I have no issues with the camera. The camera is acting like an officer while allowing the other officers to patrol and do their jobs we are paying for. All these people complain they got ticket - well you know what, you broke the law. Stop blaming other people for your it and take responsibility for your actions
Damnskippy October 16, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Sure, until you get rearended there Lawrence guy. It's a money grab for the township and in no way makes the roads safer. If the red light cameras are making accident rates go up then sue the township for being a contributing factor. Watch how fast they come down.
Tom October 16, 2012 at 09:00 PM
The claim is that the cameras are there to reduce the number of accidents. This is a lie and every installation of cameras show this. The politicians should admit that the purpose of these cameras is too increase revenue and that increasing the number of accidents is simply a side effect that they are willing to live with. Then let the voters decide who they want to vote for.
Chief Wahoo October 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
idiot, clown, dope......
josh hamilton October 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Another stupid comment by CHIEF WORTHLESS.
JosephGhabourLaw October 17, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Whether or not you agree with this program, the reason the red light cameras were pulled was clear. The program requires the yellow phase of the light to be at least one second long for every 10 m.p.h. of the prevailing speed of approaching vehicles-- not speed limit. Many cameras did not meet this standard. With the program back in operation the issue is how will this guideline be adhered to? When you get ticketed, will you also receive the calibration data for the intersection?
James C. Walker October 17, 2012 at 03:12 PM
One aspect of red light cameras is not discussed often enough. The cameras are very expensive, typically $3,000 to $5,000 per month per camera goes to the camera vendor. The vendors in New Jersey are ATS and Redflex, both of which are located in Arizona. Further, Redflex is owned by its Australian parent company. WHY are cities and states so willing to send so many millions of dollars out of their local and state economies for the benefit of the Arizona economy and the Australian economy? In these very difficult economic times, isn't keeping every dollar you can circulating in your own city and state economies pretty critical? With little or no real safety gains, and sometimes safety reductions, why do so many cities and states want to punish their own economies? It makes no sense. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI
Chief Wahoo October 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I mention it everytime I read an article on these corrupt money machines. But to answer ur question they are so desperate for money themselves they do not care the long term costs to obtain the money now !!!!
grill master October 18, 2012 at 02:26 PM
"more money for the township and causes even a little bit of tax relief in my pocket" HAHAHAHA! that's a good one there Lawrence Guy! They could increase revenue by 200% and you will NEVER see tax relief! You must be Richard "Dick" Krookzun posting as Lawrence Guy.
The Truth October 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Revenue for the township, at the cost of your safety.
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