Lawrence Twp. red light cameras causing trouble

February 21, 2013 3:26:28 PM PST
Red light cameras in Lawrence Township, New Jersey have been doing drivers more harm than good in the last year.

"If it's increasing accidents, it's a problem and it's not doing what it's intended to do," said Chief Dan Posluszny, Lawrence Township Police Department.

Posluszny is talking about the red light photo cameras at Brunswick Pike and Franklin Corner Road, arguably the most dangerous intersection in town.

When cameras were installed in November of 2011, they were supposed to cut down on crashes caused by drivers running red lights.

However accidents have actually jumped about 30 percent, and particularly rear-end crashes, which have gone from 30 to 39 in a one year period.

"The initial reason we put this camera in was to improve public safety. It is now a problem of public safety, increasing the accidents because of the red light," said Posluszny.

Tom Fritts says some drivers slam on their brakes causing rear-end crashes, others speed up trying to beat the cameras.

"I was in a position where I had people behind me and I was either going to slam on my brakes or I wasn't half way through the intersection but I wasn't going to be so I had to make that decision just to speed through it," said Fritts.

He paid $140 for the ticket.

During the first year in operation almost 9,000 summonses were issued bringing in over $650,000 for Lawrence Township.

"We come to the light and we watch people, the thing flashing all day catching people, I mean as soon as it turned yellow," said Steve Smith.

Complaints have been non-stop,

"The camera caught him going through when he really had stopped. I think the validity of these cameras comes into question," said Erin Bautz.

One lawmaker who wants to get rid of red light cameras statewide says they're not about public safety, they've become cash cows for towns that have installed them.

"They don't want to give up the money and they hide behind 'Oh, it's a pilot program let's just keep going for another couple years,' so they can continue to collect this money," said Assm. Declan O'Scanlon.

The red light cameras have been very controversial and officials say they will be reviewing footage from them to determine what if anything should be done.