New Jersey state Senator fights for longer yellow lights

September 20, 2012 5:04:20 AM PDT
Drivers may get some extra time to get through those controversial red light cameras in New Jersey.

Lawmakers proposed the bill Wednesday.

Critics have long complained the cameras are riddled with flaws that keep drivers at the disadvantage while local governments rake in millions.

The state senator at the center of all this fought hard to shut down all of the red light cameras completely.

When he realized he didn't have enough votes in Trenton for that, he proposed what he says is the next best thing, making the yellow lights longer and the fines smaller.

"The yellow light is too short, they need to give more time to get through the intersection," said Gary Capone, a driver.

It's the number one complaint from drivers about the red light cameras; the light switches from yellow to red far too quickly.

"They don't give you enough time to stop, then someone winds up hitting you in the back," said Gayle Borget, a driver.

At the intersection of Stiles Avenue and Routes 1 and 9 in Linden, the light stayed yellow for almost four seconds, but a bipartisan group says it should be even longer.

"We should be trying to improve people's lives, not bang them out with a gotcha," said New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari, (D) Union County.

State Senator Nicholas Scutari wants to give drivers an extra one and a half seconds before they are ticketed.

Currently, the light stays yellow for one second for every 10 miles an hour traveled on average through the intersection. So six seconds in a 60 mile per hour zone.

Under Senator Scutari's plan, drivers would have 7.5 seconds.

"We hope people will get less tickets and there will be fewer accidents," State Sen. Scutari said.

Senator Scutari and his co-sponsors also want to reduce the fines for people who fail to come to a complete stop on red before making a right turn.

Under his plan, they'd pay $20, down from $85 now.

"If you get stuck in an intersection then you get a ticket, and you're not going to fight it, everyone pays the $85," said Don Denisco, a driver.

New Jersey has 85 red light cameras recently certified that yellow lights were long enough.

The cameras raise millions of dollars for towns and cities looking for new revenue sources.

Some drivers have said they'd rather the town get money from these cameras then from raising property taxes.

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