Red Light Camera Suspension: Timers To Blame
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.”