A picture is worth … an $85 traffic fine

Three New Jersey towns will have cameras detect cars that run a red light


Next year, drivers who run a red light in three New Jersey municipalities may find out later that they did not get away with it.

That’s because cameras will soon be in place at several intersections, taking digital pictures of vehicles that pass through a red signal. Police will mail the violators a summons along with the photo, and the violator will then have the option of fighting the ticket in municipal court or paying a fine.

The red light cameras, which use sensors working in conjunction with the traffic signals, are new to New Jersey. The towns that have been selected to participate in the state’s Red Light Running Automated Enforcement pilot program are East Brunswick, Middlesex County (cameras at Route 18 and Tices Lane); Brick Township, Ocean County, (cameras at Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road, and Route 70 and Cedar Bridge Road) and Newark, Essex County (cameras Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard).

The three towns were selected from a pool of municipalities that demonstrated a history of violations at a given location.

East Brunswick police Lt. Thomas Crothers said the objective of the program is to prevent car accidents and in particular, those that occur as the result of cars running red lights. In those cases, vehicles are often struck broadside, an impact that tends to cause serious or fatal injuries.

“Red light accidents are potentially the most lethal,” Crothers said.

At present, the East Brunswick police department is interviewing a pool of about six vendors to determine which firm will install and monitor the camera equipment, Crothers said. All use equipment to detect vehicles going through a red light, but the technology and “addons” vary a bit from case to case, he said. Some systems have the ability to record video, which could be helpful in the case of accident investigations.

The police expect to select a vendor by January and have the equipment installed soon thereafter. Once the equipment is in place, the company will monitor and detect violators and send the images to the police department. The police will then review those submissions to determine whether a red light violation has occurred and whether to issue a citation.


hose who receive a ticket will incur

an $85 fine, but not the traffic points usually associated with moving violations. Since police will only capture an image of the vehicle, and not the driver running the red light, Crothers noted the offense is more like a parking ticket. The registered owner of the vehicle will receive the summons, regardless of who the driver was.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed legislation in January to establish the pilot program.

“The Red Light Running camera program is designed to help New Jersey communities supplement their traditional law enforcement resources,” Corzine said in a statement. “The installation of these cameras will hopefully deter speeders and increase safety for motorists in Brick, East Brunswick and Newark.”

Similar programs have been run in 24 other states.