Red Light Camera Suspension: Timers To Blame

By: Amanda Crum - June 22, 2012

Most drivers are aware that in many states, officials have installed traffic light cameras at busy intersections to capture speeders and red-light-runners in the act; they then receive a ticket in the mail for their wrongdoing, and sometimes it comes as a nasty little surprise to those unaware they were being filmed.

That’s certainly been the case for several New Jersey drivers lately, as 63 out of 85 traffic cameras apparently weren’t calibrated correctly and sent out an alarming number of tickets after not giving drivers enough time to get through a yellow caution light. Officials are suspending the camera use for the time being, presumably to fix the timing on the lights. But they won’t be giving out refunds to people who have already been a victim of poor planning, although some local attorneys are trying to cash in by urging them to push a mass refund to those who have already paid their tickets.

Officials are, however, willing to work with motorists on getting the tickets expunged from their record, according to Steve Carellas of the National Motorists Association. Carellas released this statement:

“I…want to reiterate what I said about getting RLC tickets being dismissed. And, I want to clarify what is supposed to happen starting today.

To the latter point, the cameras at the impacted intersections will continue to run and register violations but those violations won’t be sent to motorists immediately. If the yellow light timing is found to be below the minimum requirement, those registered violations will not be mailed to motorists. If the minimum requirement is met, they will. Since NJDOT gave an August 1 date to get this done, that is within the 90 days allowed for a ticket to be delivered after the violation is determined.

For any motorist that has an RLC ticket from an impacted intersection prior to today that has not been adjudicated (i.e., it hasn’t been paid yet), they can plead not guilty by calling the court (per the instructions on the RLC ticket) and when they get their court date can talk to the prosecutor and request a dismissal. The basis for the dismissal is that the state doesn’t have the proof that the yellow light was timed according to the RLC pilot program statute. The fact that NJDOT suspended operation means there isn’t proof that this element of the law is being met. It doesn’t matter that the yellow timing may prove to be correct in coming weeks. There is no proof of it meeting the law as of the date the person received the ticket. That’s how this works.”

About the Author

Amanda CrumAmanda Crum is a writer and artist from Kentucky. She's a fan of Edward Gorey, Hunter S. Thompson, and horror movies. You can follow her on Google:+Amanda Crum

View all posts by Amanda Crum
  • http://yahoo hombre

    we had them here they didn’t work the pictures weren’t clear enough to read so they took them out. the best thing is an officer waiting to ticket you provided he doesn’t have a donut in one hand and a cup of coffe in the other

  • http://yahoo clayton harper

    i had a old man 80 years old here in zanesville that got a tickit from dayton and he,d never been there and he came to me all worried and i look at it closely and he drove a buick and car in picture was a escort and they miss read the tag number too how messed up is that

  • snuggles


    Every stinking place these have been installed has had inadequate yellow lights so far, they do it on purpose to make a lot of revenue. Everyone should join the Narional Motorists Assoc. They are the only people who are looking out for the rights of drivers.

    • Ron

      Oversight? My ass!

  • addison mc garrett

    obey the law in time.

  • Josh

    I am so sick of municipalities treating our vehicles like ATM machines. Red light cameras, photo radar vans, speed limits intentionally too low, yellow lights intentionally too quick, pretty soon they will want to install a monitor inside every vehicle to issue you a fine. Enough is enough!!!

  • Dagobert II

    Any jurisdiction trying this $cam is suspect in my eyes and their mailed revenue requests invalid until proven otherwise to MY satisfaction. They never have and won’t get a dime from me no matter what they threaten. And no, I don’t need any stinkin’ driver’s license, vehicle registration or insurance and I have an angle grinder capable of defeating any ‘boot’ and firearms capable of defeating any body armor.

    • Ron

      What a joke.

    • Sandra Dee

      I then suggest you keep blowing red lights while you keep raking up fines or until you kill yourself or someone else, and then you can really tell us all that you sure showed them off!

  • dav

    the big brother they take just a little at a time till they have it all
    this has to stop. we need to find the ass!!!!! who come up with this and put(them) up on the poles. what the fu!! are they thinking? the right to face your accusor ah

  • http://none jimmy stubbs

    i think we are headed for trouble.we never had any problems before,so why do we all of the sudden need them now? this country is turning into a police state.i think it should be against the law to video anybody without their permission. its an invasion of my privacy and i dont appreciate it one bit. im suprised there isnt people out target practicing on their cameras. whats it gonna take before americans say,enough is enough and stop this insanity once and for all? ive seen this coming for decades.

    • GreenCastle

      “i think it should be against the law to video anybody without their permission.”

      Think carefully – this goes both ways. If it were illegal to record someone in public, the police could do whatever they want, and then harass/prosecute the witnesses that come forward with cell phone video exposing the corruption.

      • mike oxhard

        Yeah that’s the ticket. Get rid of unauthorized video taping. Too many people are getting caught robbing gas stations, banks or whatever else by looking at the videos. Usually the only people who complain about things like this are those who are worried. If you know that you don’t run red or yellow lights than you won’t have to worry about having your picture taken.

      • Coleen

        Driving on the roads is a constitutional right, not a priveledge. Look it up. You will find many court preceedings that have been won by this argument. Therefore, states are not supposed to video drivers or put up toll booths. But they get away with it because the people do not stand up and fight it.

        • Sandra Dee

          I beg to differ. Driving on public roads is a privelege and NOT a right. That’s why you have to take lessons and pass a TEST and be LICENSED to drive. If you and I cannot stick to the rules and avoid killing ourselves as well as innocent others, we DO NOT have the right to be on the roads in the first place. That is my opinion, and I am sticking by it.

          • michael kenes

            its our right not a not the govt many men and woman die for right to pursuit happiness without big bro watching if u are scared of life stay in your house and watch it go back if i am not hurting u leave me along what next big bro putting cameras in your bedroom to make sure u are not breaking the law where does it stop once u start down that hill u might be able to turn back

    • Tom Moxon

      It’s not the country, it’s New Jersey, which has always been a police state. Compared to Pennsylvania, New Jersey has about twice as many cops per capita. No wonder their taxes are highest in the coutry.

  • OneTwo

    In Houston we were able to get these things turned off with a Vote. Power to the people

  • jwquickly

    if ya spray your license plate with hair spray the camera gets a glare instead of your numbers.

    • Flaggot

      Your logic is flawed…

  • guilty

    I’ve been caught by these camera’s twice. I can’t complain because it was my fault. I can’t fight them because they have pictures of the front and back of my vehicle and I forgot to smile for the one of me. They also have videos of you going through the intersection. There is no way to fight them with that much proof of it being me. I personally think they are a good thing. I don’t try to beat the yellow light any longer because the $400 ticket is to much. They’re there for a reason and that’s to deter people from running red lights and possibly killing someone. I drive all day long every day and I see “people” running lights all the time right in front of other drivers. Personally I say keep them going and add more to if not all intersections then the busy intersections. From SoCal.

  • jason

    You people forget that you have the right to confront your accuser in a court of law. Fight these tickets and ask that the officer that caught you in the infraction be present. Lets see them bring the camera to court. Always ask for your day in court. These cameras are an infringement on our rights as americans, well I understand privately held property has a right to film their land public property does not

  • poppkillah

    dont take the yellow light. it goes from yellow to red in 0.1 second then u get ur pic took-en then u willl geta ticket in the mail for sure. they are scandalous. anything to get $$$$$ for the city & state.

  • jake warner

    The red light cameras have absolutely nothing to do with safety. It was all set up for revenue for the town they are in. True it will keep some people from running red lights but it is solely in place to take peoples money.

  • Only Idiots Run Red Lights

    I’m all for personal freedom UNTIL your “freedom” has the potential to kill me. RLC’s do not conduct random surveilance; you are only surveiled when you break the law. Get a clue and figure out what that pedal to the left of the accelerator does; WalMart will not go bankrupt if you arrive there one minute later.

  • Wishes There Were More Cameras

    People that run red lights are some of the most selfish around. Think about it: They run the red light so they can get through the intersection. Meanwhile, everyone else with the green light has to wait on their ass. I wish every intersection in the country had a camera.

    • Nicholas

      You are missing the point. I completely agree that some people run red lights blatantly and are selfish; however, the issue I have with red light cameras is that they do not understand or differentiate between someone running a red light out of necessity and someone running a red light because they didnt want to wait. There are huge differences between the two that a real life police officer could understand. I ride a motorcycle and thus I drive for saftey more than anything. Safety trumps the law in many cases. I have had to run red lights before because stopping would have been unsafe due to road conditions and the traffic around. Once I was pulled over and explained this to an officer and he completely understood and let me go without even a written warning. A camera would not have known the difference and I would have had a much harder time explaining in court to someone who didnt witness the crime in any way other than two still photos.

  • A Better Way

    I have to say, RLC’s are an answer to a problem that many municipalities have inadvertantly created themselves. It used to be that when a light turned red, you knew that traffic traveling perpendicular to you instantly had the green.
    The real possibilty of a collision if you ran the red was a powerful incentive to NOT run red lights.

    Today, when the light turns red, most intersections I’m familiar with delay showing the green to perpendicular traffic for one or two beats; essentially turning the intersection into a mini four-way stop.
    People aren’t stupid; they know that if they run the red, the perpendicular traffic won’t get their green for a second or two. It’s stupid. Unfortunately, what’s even more stupid is people that run red lights.

  • Barrie

    Red light cameras are all about revenue and not safety. If a camera doesn’t pay for itself, the city bureaucrats move it. Most RLC money comes from people not fully stopping before making a right turn on red, not from red light runners.

    The number of right-turn violators is almost ten times the number of runners, yet they cause almost no accidents. Again, it’s about revenue, not safety. Here in Riverside, CA there’s an intersection with a RLC and it’s timed so that if a car enters the intersection at the same time the light turns yellow, it can’t get through before the light turns red! It’s the corrupt city officials stealing money from citizens who did nothing wrong.

    • Barrie

      I need to clarify my comment above: the intersection I mentioned is Alessandro and Central in Riverside, CA. The light is timed so that if a driver is making a legal left turn from Alessandro onto Central and the light turns yellow at the same instant he enters the intersection, it’s virtually impossible to complete the left turn and get out of the intersection before the light turns red and the picture is taken. It’s a total rip off of motorists who just happen to be there at the wrong time.

      Motorists who know about this trap usually floor the accelerator if they see the light turn yellow while they’re turning, but if there’s a car or (worse) a big truck in front of them, they’re just screwed.

  • Tom

    I got nailed by a camera in Cocoa Beach Florida. I was aware of the camera and always very careful…However, the night it happened the car in front of me came to a dead stop just beyond the traffic light in order to turn into a restaurant parking lot. I had to stop under the yellow light and sat there as the light turned red. I have since taken precaution to (1) avoid that route or (2) allow enough room between myself and the car in front of me so that if it stops I can stop well behind the traffic light. So far it’s worked although I have had cars behind me upset as to why I am stopping at a green light.

  • Bridgette Stelly

    I got a RLC ticket in the city of Inglewood, Ca. I made a rt hand turn onto Prairie Ave off Manchester it was around 2 in the afternoon very little traffic. I slowed down to a crawl and proceeded to make the turn as I saw no car’s coming in the opposite direction. No light flashed I didn’t even remember the turn until I got the 525.00 ticket with photo’s in the mail. This was almost 3 years ago, I painfully paid it, be careful and aware out there. It is definitely about the revenue for the city.

  • Richard Gomez

    Red lights has always been a ripoff, instead they should institute lights sincronization to avoid running red lights and help motorist save money on gas and time, you spend way to long at certain red lights unneccessarily.