NEWARK - Tickets from all 19 red light camera here, as of 12:01 a.m. June 20, will not be issued until they are checked for proper caution light timing.
That is the directive New Jersey Department of Transportation officials gave Newark and another 20 towns statewide who have similar cameras in question. NJDOT engineers, after a recent field study, said that 63 of the 85 cameras statewide do not have the proper amber or caution light interval.
The state engineers said that the caution light length should be keyed to the intersection's speed limit. The ratio, as specified in the state law allowing the red light camera pilot project in 2009 is one second for every 10 mph of the speed limit.
An intersection equipped with a red light camera that has a 25 mph speed limit, for example, should have its yellow light on for 2.5 seconds. A 35 mph intersection should have a 3.5 sec. period before going to red.
A license plate reading flash camera is activated whenever a motor vehicle crosses through or turns on a corner of the red light intersection without stopping. A copy of the photograph and an $85 ticket is subsequently mailed to the vehicle's registered owner.
Shortening the amber light period, as red light camera critics argue, would not give motorists proper time to make the corner or crossing the intersection before getting fined.
Newark Traffic and Signals Division engineer Jack Nata said, in a published report, that the red light cameras' timing is checked every six months. Nata, nevertheless, added that he will have his engineers rechecking those signals.
Newark traffic engineers' findings, along with those from the 69 cameras' other 20 towns, will report back to NJDOT. It is not known how long that rechecking and reporting will keep tickets from motorists.
Newark and 24 other towns in 11 counties are in the midst of a five-year statewide pilot program studying red light cameras. A final study report, which would determine whether the cameras stay in or leave New Jersey, is to be issued on or by 2014.
Newark, while the only Essex County town in the pilot program, is by far and away the municipality with the largest array of red light camera intersections. It first installed and activated a contracted device at Broad Street, Park Place and Raymond Boulevard in December 2009.
The Newark Police Department, after a video replay review by a traffic officer, issued 93,635 tickets in 2010 and around 95,000 in 2011. The city received more than $3 million in camera fine revenue in 2010.
Registered vehicle owners who believe that short-timed amber lights were a factor in their receiving a red light camera fine may file an appeal to the municipal judges who have heard their case.
Enforcement is also completely suspended in: Brick Township, Cherry Hill, East Windsor, Edison, Englewood Cliffs, Glassboro, Lawrence, Linden, Monroe Township (Gloucester County), Palisades Park, Piscataway, Pohatcong, Rahway, Roselle Park, Springfield (Union County), Stratford, Union Township (Union County) and Wayne.
Partial enforcement, however, exists at one intersection each at Jersey City's JFK Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue and at Woodbridge's US Rt. 1 and Avenel Street. Jersey City's other 12 red light cameras are fully active, however, as are Woodbridge's other three intersections.
Full enforcement continues, however, at sole red light cameras in Deptford, East Brunswick and New Brunswick.