TINTON FALLS - A new forensic video analysis of red light cameras in New Jersey backs up something drivers have been complaining about for years: some of the yellow lights are just not long enough.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank) contracted an expert in red light timing to study more than a dozen intersections in New Jersey. In at least six cases, they say yellow lights were shorter than allowed by law, enough to make the difference between clearing the intersection legally, and being unjustly slapped with an $85 fine.
“Upwards of 30 percent of the infractions are not deserved,” O’Scanlon says. “These people are innocent, unquestionably, under the law.”
In Newark, one light tested on Market Street and Raymond Boulevard is required by the state formula to stay yellow for at least four seconds; the video analysis found it turned red more than a tenth of a second too soon.
In Union, a light on Morris Avenue that is required to have a three-second yellow timed out at less than 2.9 seconds.
The most egregious violation came at an intersection on Route 1/9 in Jersey City. The intersection is required to have a four-second yellow, but timed out a quarter of a second too short.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard allegations of short yellow lights. Last summer, the New Jersey Department of Transportation temporarily suspended red light camera violations at 63 intersections so yellow light times could be tested. The NJDOT eventually concluded the lights were OK. But at the time, the agency said any signal that did not live up to the formula in the legislation would be removed from the program, and O’Scanlon is calling on the agency to live up to that promise.
NJDOT spokesman Joe Dee would not commit to that, however. He tells Kane In Your Corner, “We look forward to reviewing any material from Assemblyman O’Scanlon,” but adds, “We’re taking things one step at a time.”
Yellow light times are only one of the problems Kane In Your Corner has reported on in more than two years of investigating red light cameras. Among the issues exposed exclusively by News 12 New Jersey: drivers ticketed for going through lights that appeared to be green, drivers falsely ticketed while they were standing still at intersections, and even drivers ticketed for going through red lights after police officers, on the scene, waved them through.