By Brenda Flanagan
A dramatic crash – caught on camera in Roselle Park by American Traffic Solutions. The red light camera company claims its photo-generated-summonses accurately target red-light-runners but the New Jersey courts just ordered 17 towns to dismiss 17 thousand ATS tickets.
“It was shocking, and I’m someone who, there’s not much shocking about this program anymore,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon.
O’Scanlon — an avowed opponent of red light cameras — says, ATS failed to issue tickets within the 90-day deadline required by law.
“I know that this equipment is flawed and deeply flawed, but I didn’t know they could have a meltdown of this magnitude over this period of time,” said O’Scanlon.
In a statement, ATS explains “A technical issue led to a delay in notices being mailed” and that, “Out of an abundance of caution and fairness, many of violations were administratively dismissed. ”
The courts commented, “They were dismissed because the statute requires it.”
“It really is another nail of many in the coffin of the viability of these programs and these systems,” said O’Scanlon.
There’s no denying, red light cameras raise a lot in revenues. In just one year, Newark issued almost 94-thousand tickets — worth $85 a pop. That’s a cool $3 million and of course the red light camera company — RedFlex — gets a nice chunk.
But RedFlex logged some bad news recently – its former CEO Karen Finley was indicted on federal corruption charges – allegedly bribed Chicago officials to get a contract.
“This has been going on across the country — in 13 states — including the state of New Jersey. I’ve asked the acting Attorney General to take a look at this. I really think it’s a problem,” said Senator Michael Doherty.
The company issued a statement, “Redflex has cooperated fully with the investigative authorities. We announced aggressive leadership changes, industry leading compliance policies and procedures.”
But the entire red light camera industry is facing a legislative sundown. New Jersey’s five-year pilot program is scheduled to end by Dec. 16 — unless the legislature renews it.
“I believe though the legislature will let this program die — especially with this new information we have,” said O’Scanlon.
But Roselle Park’s Police chief stands by the program, saying red light cameras have made motorists more aware of traffic signals when approaching a traffic light controlled intersection, and the motorists are using more caution. He called it, “a valuable tool in making our roadways a safer place for all motorists.”