Red Light Cams Shut Down Over 'Yellow Light' Length Concerns
Brick among 21 municipalities ordered to suspend ticketing
Brick is one of 21 New Jersey municipalities that was ordered to suspend the issuance of summonses from its red light enforcement cameras Tuesday.
The state Department of Transportation made the call based on video evidence provided by cameras placed at intersections, officials said.
The decision to suspend the issuance of summonses was made because the legislation that authorizes the cameras under a pilot program requires a formula to determine the proper duration of the yellow light in a traffic signal that differs from the formula most state roads already use.
Two of Brick's camera-armed intersections include a state highway.
State officials said most yellow lights follow the legally required engineering and safety standards in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which requires a minimum duration of the yellow light to equal one-tenth of the posted speed limit on the approaching road.
For example, where the approaching road has a posted speed of 40 mph, the signal must display yellow for a minimum of four seconds. The DOT rounds up to the nearest whole second, so in instances where the approaching speed limit is 45 mph, the signal displays a yellow light for five seconds.
The formula in the legislation that determines camera program eligibility, however, requires an analysis of vehicle speeds as they approach the intersection where a red light camera installation is proposed.The formula requires a yellow signal of at least three seconds if at least 85 percent of the approaching traffic travels at speeds of 25 mph or less.
For each increase of 5 mph in vehicle speed above 30 mph, the minimum duration of the yellow light must be increased by 0.5 seconds, according to the legislation.
This requirement, officials said, is there to ensure that the traffic signal is timed properly to provide motorists with sufficient time to avoid a violation and fine by entering an intersection when the light is red.
Township Business Administrator Scott Pezarras has told Brick Patch in the past that the Brick Boulevard-Hooper Avenue intersection had its yellow light length increased by a half-second before the cameras were installed.
Brick's intersections also went through a previous review, he said.
"Because they're county and state roads [where all of Brick's cameras are located], all had to be reviewed by the DOT to make sure anything that was going to be done was not going to impact traffic on their roadways," Pezarras said.
Brick current has three intersections where red light cameras are present: Brick Boulevard and Hooper Avenue; Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road; and Route 70 and Brick Boulevard. The Route 70-Brick Boulevard camera just began issuing tickets June 6.
Under the state's directive, municipalities must conduct traffic analyses and submit certifications to the DOT by Aug. 1.
If the analysis shows that the duration of a yellow light meets the minimum duration as required by the legislation, a municipality will be permitted to issue violation notices for violations that occur during the suspension period, and continue issuing violation notices.
If the analysis shows that a signal does not display a yellow light long enough to meet the formula in the legislation, that intersection will be removed from the pilot program.