Stack Says Camera Pilot Program Worth Effort

Senator Brian P. Stack today predicted the new law he sponsored to authorize cameras at dangerous red-light intersections for a five-year statewide pilot program will sharply reduce accidents and save many lives.

“It’s just taking advantage of human nature to increase safety,” said Senator Stack, D-Hudson. “People drive more carefully when they know someone’s watching.”

Under Senator Stack’s law, S-2123/A-4314, local police could send tickets to drivers who run red lights as recorded by high resolution digital images of the intersection and a video recording of the violation.

Governor Corzine today announced he has signed the legislation into law which authorizes municipalities to apply to the State Department of Transportation to participate in the pilot program.

Though some out of state venues have reaped millions of dollars in revenues from similar programs, Senator Stack stressed his main concern is increasing safety.

“The cameras will provide the eyes of law enforcement at dangerous intersections and lives will be saved,” he said. “Any revenues would be secondary side benefits that should be used for related safety efforts.”

Senator Stack dismissed concerns of critics that the pilot program will lead to an increase in fender benders by drivers suddenly hitting their brakes to avoid tickets by mail.

“Word will spread quickly about the existence of the cameras at the intersections so those concerns hardly compare to the life-saving potential of enhanced safety,” he said. The new law, in fact, requires that signs be posted alerting motorists of the cameras at roadways approaching the intersection being monitored.

For privacy protection, the new law bans use of the photographs for any other civil or administrative proceedings. Once incident reports for the intersections are assessed, based on before and after the cameras were installed, a State report will recommend whether the program will be made permanent.

“Drivers will slow down when they know they?re being watched, but violators will be punished, as they should be,” Senator Stack said. “The roads in the participating New Jersey communities will become safer and they will set the example for eventually expanding the program.”