The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted 21 municipalities permission to resume ticketing from red-light cameras after suspending the programs at a total of 63 intersections in June over concerns those towns may have used the wrong formula to determine yellow-light duration.
Gloucester Township was one of just four New Jersey towns included in the pilot program permitted to continue ticketing from all red-light cameras when DOT issued the suspension order June 19. The township had certified that it was utilizing the yellow-light timing formula mandated by state legislation for its red-light camera program, according to DOT.
See below for an explanation of the differences between the formulas used to determine yellow-light timing for the pilot program's camera-controlled intersections and other intersections.
A total of 22 intersections statewide, including the four in Gloucester Township, were not affected by the June 19 suspension order.
Gov. Chris Christie announced the suspension in the 21 towns had been lifted Tuesday night during his monthly "Ask the Governor" call-in radio program on New Jersey 101.5 FM.
Each of the 21 municipalities conducted the DOT-requested traffic analysis and provided their re-certifications to DOT through professionally licensed municipal engineers, DOT said Wednesday in a statement. Those re-certifications show the yellow-light times conform to the pilot program's formula.
The municipalities affected by the suspension have been informed that they are now permitted to continue issuing violation summonses, as well as issue violation summonses for violations that occurred during the suspension period.
Steve Carrellas, New Jersey representative of the National Motorists Association driving rights group, told the Star-Ledger that fines issued before the red-light cameras were certified can still be dismissed because “they weren’t certified at the time of the violation being registered.”
DOT noted in its statement that had a town's analysis 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.
In addition to the four in Gloucester Township, the intersections not affected by DOT's June 19 directive included one in Deptford, one in East Brunswick, one in New Brunswick, 12 of 13 intersections in Jersey City, and three of four in Woodbridge.
American Traffic Solutions, the company that runs red-light cameras in many of New Jersey's pilot program towns, including Gloucester Township, said the following in a statement:
We’re pleased that the New Jersey Department of Transportation has confirmed what we’ve known all along. 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. Overall, New Jersey’s red-light safety camera programs have been an overwhelming success. Violations, side impact collisions, injuries and fatalities as a result of red-light running continue to fall.
DOT included the following, unedited explanation of the differences between the two formulas when announcing ticketing suspensions in the 21 towns in June:
NJDOT follows the legally required engineering and safety standards in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which requires a minimum duration of the yellow light to equal one-tenth of the posted speed limit on the approaching road. This is a safety standard designed to provide motorists with sufficient time to respond to the yellow light and prevent collisions.
For example, where the approaching road has a posted speed of 40 miles per hour, the signal must display yellow for a minimum of four seconds. NJDOT rounds up to the nearest whole second, so in instances where the approaching speed limit is 45 miles per hour, the signal displays a yellow light for five seconds.
The formula in the legislation to determine pilot-program eligibility requires an analysis of vehicle speeds as they approach the intersection where a red light camera installation is proposed. The formula requires a yellow signal of at least three seconds if at least 85 percent of the approaching traffic travels at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less.
For each five mile-per-hour increase in vehicle speed above 30 miles per hour, the minimum duration of the yellow light must be increased by 0.5 seconds, according to the legislation.
This requirement aims to ensure that the traffic signal is timed properly to provide motorists with sufficient time to avoid a violation and fine by entering an intersection when the light is red.