Red light cameras (RLC) are still up on posts around New Jersey, but they have done nothing to reduce pedestrian accidents. In fact, in the first full year of operations, pedestrian accidents were up 94 percent compared with pre-camera accidents.
The public is likely unaware of the statistic because all the New Jersey RLC Department of Transportation (NJDOT) reports cover only right-angle crashes and rear-end crashes. The state also found five more pedestrian deaths near RLCs over the program’s lifespan, NorthJersey.com reports.
At the intersection of Route 440 and Routes 1 and 9, the number of car accidents increased from two pre-camera accidents to 49 accidents in one year, which is a 2,350 percent increase. That intersection also had a pedestrian death on August 5, 2014 and an auto death on June 10, 2013, according to NorthJersey.com.
Red light cameras were technically shut off at midnight on December 16, 2014, Time reports, but none of them have been taken down. The state said their purpose was to catch bad motorists in the act of speeding, blowing through red lights and other traffic infractions, but New Jersey residents argued they were just another way for the state to make money.
Union Township told Time in December that 27,000 fewer drives ran lights in the 30 months the RLCs were installed. NJDOT studies claimed that crashes overall were down, but that conflicts with NorthJersey.com’s claim that data from 70 out of 73 towns’ RLC data showed a 94 percent increase in accidents.
Grassroots engineers Rick Short and George Ford told Time they found major discrepancies between the RLC safety claims and raw DOT crash data. "We have proved that the crash reduction percentages spread by the camera industry and town leaders are fictitious," they said.