Paterson Considers Controversial Red Light Enforcement Cameras
Monday, October 15, 2012 • 8:10am
PATERSON, NJ – Struggling to balance the budget, Paterson administration officials see the installation of red-light enforcement cameras as one option for generating new city revenue.
“I see it as a viable option, especially considering the volume involved,’’ said City Business Administrator Charles Thomas.
Newark, for example, collected $3.7 million in fines from the cameras during the first six months of this year, according to a story on nj.com.
But the video enforcement has created controversy in other New Jersey municipalities, including complaints from motorists who say they unfairly received tickets. For five weeks this summer, the state shut down most of the red-light pilot program until technicians could test the cameras to make sure they were giving drivers enough time to get through yellow lights.
Paterson is among the municipalities on the New Jersey Transportation Department’s waiting list for approval to begin using the system under the state’s pilot program. Meanwhile, legislators have introduced a bill that would give drivers extra time to get through yellow lights and would reduce the penalty from $85 to $20.
Thomas said Mayor Jeffrey Jones wants to be sure that the problems with the system are resolved before Paterson starts using the cameras.
Councilman William McKoy, chairman of the public safety committee said he would not endorse the program as a means for simply boosting city revenues.
“Public safety should be the primary concern,’’ said McKoy. “Clearly, they’re not appropriate for every location. But there are some problem locations where they could be used to improve safety.’’
In Palisades Park, authorities report a 50-percent reduction in crashes at the locations where the borough has enforcement cameras installed, according to a story on northjersey.com.