If you got a ticket at in Woodbridge, you might be due a refund.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) yesterday issued a notice to suspend the pilot program that had summonses being issued after cameras took pictures of cars thought to be running red lights. The suspension affected 21 of the 25 municipalities where the program has been active since 2009.
The problem, according to the statement released by NJDOT, is that the timing of the yellow lights at only 22 of the 85 red light camera intersections statewide had been certified according to the formula in the legislation. All 85 lights, the DOT statement said, were in compliance with a "nationally accepted standard used by NJDOT" - it simply wasn't the standard required by the language in the pilot program.
Only One Intersection Affected
Woodbridge is one of the municipalities where NJDOT has ordered that the issuance of summons be stopped. The problem, though, is that the township has four red light camera intersections; the NJDOT's stop order only affects, the granddaddy of Woodbridge's red light camera roadways.
brought in $1,240,526, with the township retaining $632,837 of that.
Only Jersey City, with 13 red light camera intersections, matched Woodbridge with NJDOT stopping the issuance of summons at only one of its intersections.
Every one of the 19 other towns with red light cameras affected by the NJDOT order have been told to stop issuing tickets at all locations.
John J. White of Colonia, who had been at the intersection of Gill Lane and Route 1 said he was driving home Tuesday when he heard the news on NJ101.5, the state's biggest talk radio station.
Stuck in traffic, White called into the radio station and related his experience with the Woodbridge red light cameras and problems with the grace period that he believes he fell under.
White went to to little avail.
"The prosecutor said, pay it. The judge said, 'What do you want? A trial? Pay it.' So I paid it."
Woodbridge's other claim to fame seems to be that it's one of the few municipalities that , while other towns only charge $85 a ticket.
The DJs at the radio station "were really surprised to hear that it was almost double in Woodbridge," White said.
"The main complaint is the quickness of the yellow turning red. There's no evidence to show that the municipalities tested the timing."
One political critic of the red light camera program has been Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth).
"Towns were using this pilot program as auto ticket issuing machines and a way to generate revenue. Improving safety is a laudable goal, but not at the expense of punishing innocent drivers," O'Scanlon said in a statement.
The assemblyman introduced a bill in May that would outright ban the practice of using red light cameras to issue tickets.
White, and many of the NJ101.5 callers, agreed. "People are seeing it's not about public safety, it's about it being a money-making machine. People are getting tired of it. There's no evidence to show the cameras do anything but make money," White said.
Even though the intersection where he got his ticket isn't the sole one NJDOT said has yellow light timing problems, White isn't buying it.
"I'm optimistic that I'll get my money back. If they took my money illegally, I should get it back," he said.