Assemblyman Sees Red Over Traffic Camera Report
A Department of Transportation report on Red Light Cameras is "sloppy and unprofessional," O'Scanlon claims.
Monmouth County Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon is criticising a recent New Jersey Department of Transportation red light camera study, saying that it fails to properly analyze its own data and presents a narrative that's misleadingly optimistic about the controversial program.
According to O'Scanlon, the report analyzes two groupings of data: statewide data over the course of two years and data from just two intersections in Newark over one year's time. Rather than focus on statewide camera data, O'Scanlon said the narrative of the report centers on Newark alone, ignoring what he says are the negative realities of the program.
O'Scanlon has called for the banning of red light cameras, saying they fail to decrease accidents and are only used to generate revenue. He's called for the state's pilot program, which allowed 24 municipalities to install the cameras that snap photos of drivers who allegedly run red lights, to be suspended and has demanded that no other municipalities be allowed to enter the program.
In Shrewsbury, officials have discussed the program and have even contacted American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based company that installs and manages the red light cameras in New Jersey, about how to get involved.
The DOT's red light camera report indicates that accidents and citations at the two intersections in Newark where red light cameras are installed is down. With accident rates often fluctuating year-to-year at intersections without cameras anyway, the data that really matters is the cumulative data, O'Scanlon said.
According to the reports own findings, accidents at intersections where red light cameras are installed has increased overall, from 577 to 582. The report also indicates that the costs associated with the accidents at these intersections, which includes property damage and injury, has increased $1.17 million.
"Don't be fooled by the thinly veiled positive spin in this report's narrative," O'Scanlon said in a release. "The data tells the story - and the story is that this program has been a dismal failure from the start, and the data now proves that not only are red light cameras not reducing crashes, the presence of the equipment might actually be leading to INCREASES in crashes - and the severity and costs of those crashes.
"To be specific, the net cost in accidents at these intersections increased by more than a million dollars. That number doesn't include the tens of millions of dollars in bogus fines being doled out by these automatic taxing machines. At half the intersections surveyed, accidents actually increased."
O'Scanlon also criticised the DOT for, as he put it, glossing over the fact that the camera program was suspended by the Governor's office for a time because lights at red light camera intersections were found to be improperly timed, resulting in wrongfully-issued tickets.
American Traffic Solution's release on the report extols the virtues of its New Jersey program and claims that total crashes have been reduced by as much as 57 percent while failing to mention that that data only applies to two intersections, not all of the intersections combined.
While right-angle crashes have decreased overall, a point ATS champions, rear-end collisions at intersections have increased in many places, a stat the red light camera company fails to mention at all in its glowing self-analysis.
“Here we see that, statewide, the net number of accidents at 24 participating intersections have actually increased. INCREASED!!" O'Scanlon said in a release. "How can (the DOT) recommend the continuation of this program when the exact opposite of its purported purpose is happening around the state? These intersections have become MORE dangerous and that fact is written in black in white in the DOT’s own report. I mean, this is about safety, right?”