TRENTON – The Senate today gave final approval to legislation, S-2123, sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio, D-Bergen, to authorize a five-year pilot program to monitor the safety value of installing camera monitor at intersections with traffic lights.
“If we can save lives by encouraging people to stop at lights when they know a camera is recording their decision, this pilot program will be well worth it,” said Senator Coniglio. The bill passed 22-10 and was sent to the Governor for enactment. It’s Assembly counterpart passed earlier today in the lower house.
Under the proposal, a municipality could apply for inclusion in the pilot program for a particular intersection with an existing light has been the scene of a high number of accidents or violations.
“Every parent’s nightmare is having a son or daughter with a new license out driving and getting sideswiped by someone who runs a light,” said Senator Coniglio. “This program is said to be working in other states, so we should see if it fits for New Jersey.”
A municipality that gets accepted for the State program would be required to submit annual reports listing the increase or decrease of accidents and violations at the intersection where monitoring camera devices are installed, Senator Coniglio said.
Municipalities such as Dallas, New York and Chicago have realized significant revenue enhancements fines paid on summonses issued after cameras caught drivers running red lights, according to transportation experts.
“The statistics I am most impressed by are the ones showing a decrease in drivers running red lights where cameras are monitoring,” Senator Coniglio said.
In New York City, for example, officials cited statistics showing a 40 percent reduction in the number of vehicles running red lights where cameras were installed.
“There are also concerns for safety, which have to be monitored as far as rear-end collisions go,” Senator Coniglio said. “We don’t want drivers slammng on their breaks when a light begins to change so that will be closely watched over the life of the pilot program.”
Supporters say privacy concerns will be dealt with by provisions of the bill which would bar tapes or pictures made by the cameras from being used for any other surveillance purposes.