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Red light cameras have New Jersey senator seeing red

The point of laws and law enforcement is to keep communities safer, right? If a certain tactic that's meant to protect citizens proved to do just the opposite, it would then make sense to put an end to that tactic, right?

That is the logic that New Jersey state Sen. Michael Doherty is posing regarding the use of red light cameras at intersections throughout New Jersey. The cameras are supposedly tools for law enforcement to enforcetraffic laws and catch those who run red lights. But there is an unwanted outcome of the devices.

The red light cameras have been in operation as part of a pilot program in New Jersey that is supposed to run a course of five years. But Sen. Doherty and other critics of the cameras argue that "cut" should be called on the cameras immediately. Why? Accident reports show that the rate of crashes has not significantly decreased at intersections with the red light cameras. The accidents that do occur now tend to be more serious and, therefore, expensive to the state.

If New Jersey's residents aren't safer and if New Jersey is spending more money after implementing the cameras, then why keep them in place? With such arguments growing in the state, lawmakers who continue to support the program have some explaining to do.

Doherty says, "If the Legislature does not move to immediately terminate the pilot program in light of the new data confirming that cameras make intersections more dangerous, that will be proof positive that the real purpose of red light cameras is to give government another way to reach into your pocket through tickets and fines."

Laws and law enforcement tools should improve a community. Do you believe that red light cameras do that?

Source: NJToday, "Senator Calls For Immediate Termination Of NJ's Red Light Camera Program," Nov. 27, 2012