The state has given Lawrence Township the green light to resume ticketing motorists as part of its traffic light camera program.
The Department of Transportation announced on July 26 that the yellow light timing at the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Corner and Bakers Basin roads complies with the state law authorizing the cameras, which are meant to catch drivers who run red lights.
In June the state ordered Lawrence and 21 other towns to suspend the issuance of tickets at 63 locations because the lights may not have been properly certified. Traffic light cameras are being used to issue violations at 85 intersections in 25 towns throughout New Jersey.
Also recertified by the state were two intersections in East Windsor — Route 130 and Route 571, and Route 130 and Dutch Neck Road.
The state ordered the suspension after finding out that the formula specified by state law for the duration of yellow lights was different from the federal formula that is required when installing traffic signals.
The DOT required each town to perform an analysis to ensure that the light timing was in accordance with the state law.
“Each affected municipality has conducted the requested traffic analysis and provided their re-certifications via a professionally licensed municipal engineer,” stated a DOT press release. “In each case the results have confirmed that the duration of a yellow light at the authorized intersection meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation.”
“If the analysis had shown that a signal did not display a yellow light long enough to meet the formula in the legislation, that intersection would have been removed from the pilot program,” said the DOT.
Not only did the DOT permit the towns to resume issuing summonses, it is also allowing them to write tickets for violations caught by the cameras during the suspension period — between June 19 and July 26.
The red light camera pilot program — implemented in 2009 — was authorized by legislation passed in 2008 to determine whether the cameras promote safety by reducing the frequency and severity of crashes at intersections that have a history of motorists running red lights.
“We’re pleased that the DOT has confirmed what we’ve known all along,” said American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company that provides the cameras. “All of the approaches monitored by ATS’ red-light safety cameras are now, and have always been in compliance with both state and federal yellow light timing standards.”
ATS claims that the program has been an “overwhelming success” in New Jersey. “Violations, side impact collisions, injuries and fatalities as a result of red-light running continue to fall,” ATS says.
“The decision to recertify the cameras will ensure that these important safety programs will continue. It’s our hope that the (DOT) commissioner will now take steps to give approval to the dozens of cities and towns currently seeking authority to launch red-light safety camera programs of their own,” says ATS.