Many of you have read my previous blog post on the red-light traffic cameras that have been appearing in many parts of South Jersey over the past year. The cameras have evoked controversy in many towns. Proponents maintain that the cameras help to reduce the number of drivers who run red lights. This, in turn, reduces the amount of car accidents at intersections. Critics of the cameras argue that they are an unwanted governmental intrusion into driver’s lives. Critics also maintain that the cameras do not promote traffic safety. They argue that the cameras have caused many rear-end collisions at intersections where drivers slam on their brakes to stop before the light turns red. Still, others have argued that the resulting traffic fines from the cameras are a financial boon for many towns that need revenue.
In addition to these issues, several class action lawsuits have been filed against some of the towns that utilize the red-light cameras, as well as some of the operators of the cameras. The plaintiffs have claimed that, among other things, the cameras are not in compliance with applicable laws. Recently, one of the class action lawsuits was settled for $4.2 million. Under the terms of the settlement, some 400,000 motorists are to receive $8.50 (or 10% of their fines) for tickets issued on or before August 1, 2012. The settlement covers red-light cameras in 18 towns across New Jersey, including Deptford, Glassboro, Gloucester Township, and Monroe. As part of the settlement, the court appointed a retired magistrate judge to serve as a “special master”, who will conduct an in-person inspection of some camera installations in several South Jersey towns. The special master also will do an inspection of the support operations at the camera-system’s operator, American Traffic Solutions. With a town’s consent, the special master may also watch a police officer evaluate the violation data from the red-light cameras.
In the years ahead, it will be interesting to see whether the red-light cameras have reduced or increased the number of car accidents at intersections. Because the cameras are so new, there are no long term traffic safety studies available to determine the effects of the cameras.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident by a driver who ran a red light, or who rear-ended you at a red light, call Stark & Stark anytime to discuss your situation. Unlike many other firms in the area, our personal injury attorneys specialize in personal injury cases. Our personal injury attorneys handle only those types of cases. So when you hire us, you can rest assured that we have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you get the results you deserve.