Red Light Cameras in New Jersey
New Jersey has been slow to adopt red light cameras and is waiting on legislative action to do so
Half of All States Use Red Light CamerasToday, nearly half of all states use automated equipment to enforce traffic laws, including prohibitions against red light running. New Jersey was formerly one of these states. In December 2014, a five-year red light camera pilot program expired. Governor Christie, who has previously spoken out against the use of red light programs, has so far not re-authorized the continuation or extension of the program; and with another year and a half left in his second term, it is unlikely that red light cameras will return to the Garden State anytime soon.
New Jersey Pending LegislationNonetheless, two bills have been introduced in the General Assembly by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle from Bergen County which would bring changes to New Jersey's to-be-resurrected red light camera pilot program. A2278 would restrict the distribution of images and information produced by the program. In addition, A2277 would require the Department of Transportation to issue guidance on certain aspects of the red light cameras pilot program. These bills are similar to the provisions of red light camera programs from other states. For example, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania all have statutes which prohibit images from red light cameras from identifying the occupants in the vehicle. California proclaims that the images produced from red light cameras are confidential, and Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington declare that these images may only be used in proceedings to contest tickets issued via red light cameras. Next, in Georgia, the state legislature has given the state transportation department has a great deal of power and discretion to regulate the use of red light cameras. As of 2013, although there was no state law about red light cameras in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Transportation issued a policy for the installation and use of these cameras. Similarly, the state transportation departments of New Mexico and Louisiana have the power to regulate the use of red light cameras, and to ban them from certain locations. Should red light cameras re-materialize someday, this legislation may represent a step forward in protecting the privacy of motorists, and may help municipalities more effectively and efficiently regulate traffic for the safety of all travelers.