New Jersey Shuts Down Red-Light Camera Pilot Program

Dec 16, 2014 10:42 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

New Jersey's red-light camera pilot program is closing after five years of bringing in millions of dollars' worth of traffic fines.

Around two dozen municipalities in the Garden State have been conducting the pilot program, which will close at midnight on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Starting in 2009, the pilot program has allowed New Jersey towns of all sizes to bring in millions of dollars, with some busy intersections distributing more than 20,000 citations in a year.

Red-light cameras have been connected with problems as well, including a federal lawsuit that resulted in refunds to hundreds of thousands of drivers, a computer glitch that voided some 17,000 tickets earlier this year and a temporary suspension of the program in 2012 due to yellow lights that may not have been properly timed.

Earlier this week, New York City won a lawsuit dismissal after its red-light cameras were challenged by drivers who sought refunds, according to Bloomberg News.

Contending that the yellow light times are too short in duration, traffic violators sued the city in December 2012 and called for an end to the program. The federal minimum for yellow lights is three seconds.

The suit also alleged that the city had installed 168 more cameras than is permitted by state law, but a New York judge has countered that the program upholds due process since violators can challenge their penalties and have opportunity to contest the fines.

In an order dated Dec. 9, New York State Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Freed dismissed the suit. The plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence that their $50 fines were out of proportion to the risky traffic violation of speeding through a red light, she said.

The judge additionally said that the drivers couldn't prove that the city unfairly took in money through traffic fines since violators "cannot assert in good faith that it is against equity and good conscience to allow a municipality to levy fines against individuals who drive through red lights and thus pose a danger to society."

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