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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 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 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.

Brett Middaugh June 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
This is what NJDOT should be doing at trouble intersections. FTA: Potential Benefits The Advanced Dilemma-Zone Detection system has several benefits relative to traditional multiple detector systems, which have upstream detection for vehicles in the dilemma zone but do not take the speed or size of individual vehicles into account. These benefits include: Reducing the frequency of red-light violations; Reducing the frequency of crashes associated with the traffic signal phase change (for example, rear-end and angle crashes); Reducing delay and stop frequency on the major road; and Maintaining or reducing overall intersection delay. Agency Experience An Advanced Dilemma-Zone Detection system was developed for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to minimize both delay and crash frequency at rural intersections. This system was implemented as part of a study conducted by TxDOT at several intersections using commercially-available equipment in Texas. The evaluation of safety and operational benefits found that the system: Reduced delay by 14 percent; Reduced stop frequency by 9 percent; Reduced red-light violations by 58 percent; Reduced heavy-vehicle red-light violations by 80 percent; and Reduced severe-crash frequency by 39 percent.
Brett Middaugh June 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
The person who witnessed the truck run the red light may be interested in this: "Reduced heavy-vehicle red-light violations by 80 percent"
Brett Middaugh June 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I'd like to say that I am in no way trying to put anyone down, but simply pointing out that there are much cheaper and better ways to prevent accidents at potential problem red light intersections.
Sal Lib June 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Wheres my $85 back???
Bob June 20, 2012 at 03:34 PM
if they changed the yellow to 10 sec there would still be alot of you that still blow the light and will complain that it was too short. If you read the article it did not specify Brick as a place that the lights where it has a shortend yellow only. Also if you read how they calculate the formula for the length my question is: if that is good enough for red light camera intersection why not for ALL intersections?
Tom June 20, 2012 at 04:57 PM
It will take me 0.4 seconds to push the button come election time...
Mrs. G. June 20, 2012 at 05:26 PM
First off, I feel there should be more policemen writing tickets for the running of lights. However, the timing of the lights should be within the regulations - that is only fair. And, that is the whole reason behind this study. I have timed a yellow light whe I visited a realitive out of state. I stopped VERY quicly for it, but could not believe how quickly it changed. So, I drove around the corner and had my passenger video it on her phone. It was a three second change - and if that was legal, it should be changed! I was able to stop, but it really wasn't safe to do so. I was not speeding, but the car behind me could have slammed into me.
sharon remtory June 20, 2012 at 06:18 PM
and when has any gov't agency done their job?
darrell June 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM
The truck that went thru the red light was stopped infront of me. The light had already changed to red, he could have easily stopped as I did. The traffic was lined up at the light to make a left onto Hooper Ave. The amber light had already changed to red when we approached to turn. He just didn't want to wait for another light. Lucky he didn't cause and accident.
Brett Middaugh June 20, 2012 at 07:09 PM
So the truck stopped, the light turned red, then he blew the light anyhow? There must have been no traffic on the side street. Of course there's no taking into account that sort of action but for the majority of the people who are just trying to make it through the intersection properly there is better technology than cameras. I think the point I am trying to make is that instead of getting worked up about cameras and complaining, it may be better to approach those putting in the cameras and saying, "hey there is something better out there that doesn't affect the average motorist who is just trying to drive safely."
Joseph Woolston Brick June 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Tom, I bet I can push that button in 0.2 seconds. Wanna race?
Chief Wahoo June 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM
“Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security” - Ben Franklin
Tom June 20, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Joseph, We can race, but if you encounter a yellow light remember slam on the brakes...
Tom June 20, 2012 at 11:03 PM
If we surround the town with these cams the moat will be complete around the kingdom.
Ed June 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Remember when the cops actually earned their money enforcing traffic laws?
darrell June 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I don't care either way really about the cameras, but while they are there I will continue to drive carefully. Also, on a local radio station they said would it be worth the effort to try to recoup your $85. if any of the cameras are not set right. Maybe having to take a day off of work, hiring a lawyer,etc. They said it's unlikely that many of the people who got tickets would persue it. Have to wait and see. Off this subject, did anyone look up their tax bill for 8/1? Better do it sitting down!
Tom Cular June 21, 2012 at 07:27 AM
Brett, I mentioned the UMTCD guidelines a few months ago as well as altering the red duration so that both roadways have a red light for a couple of seconds. As you stated, that would go a long way towards accident prevention, however that would not generate revenue. As you know there's a reason that the "Police Key" on the control boxes only gives limited access for control of the signals. There are times, when due to local conditions the PD needs to manually control signals, but they do not have access to programming the controls.
Tom Cular June 21, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Brett, I know you're trying to explain, but you're talking to dead horses.
Cynthia Taylor June 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Someone should organize a petition to have a referendum on Nov's Ballot for Brick to let the public vote on whether or not to have the Red Light Camera's removed.
sharon remtory June 21, 2012 at 01:26 PM
there is a better way. Christie needs to re-instate the traffic officers to catch these people. I do not see any police officers, ever........during the day........and the driving public knows this......
sharon remtory June 21, 2012 at 01:28 PM
thank you very much. The people need to say what they want..........where do we begin? Anyone motivated?
Tommy June 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I would hope more then one company will do the certification of the lights in the 21 towns. If not the question of the certification being corrupt will loom. In my opinion those ticketed where it is proven the lights were not set correctly should be refunded for the tickets they received. If not a class action lawsuit should be filed.
darrell June 21, 2012 at 11:39 PM
It would probably cost you more than $85.00 and time off of work.
darrell June 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
The suit would be against NJ Dot. Good luck,
Tommy June 22, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Yeah well lawyer's will jump all over a class action against the DOT. They go where they can get big money for themselves. Let us see if the DOT has any integrity, if a legit finding shows the timing of the yellow lights is not correct. lets see what the DOT does.
Judy Sepulveda June 23, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Judy, Brick. I want my money back too. Yellow arrows at Brick Blvd. and Chambersbridge change to fast on turn onto Hooper Ave. A waste of my tax dollors.
GT June 23, 2012 at 02:48 PM
(Truck is a good point). How big was the truck? I ask because larger vehicles need more room to stop. That's physics. There is no determination for weight of vehicles with these cameras. I drive an F-350, weight > 9,999 lbs. If someone in a small car slams their brakes and stops in front of me there could be a problem. I take this into consideration when I travel behind other cars. It's a tough call for me cause I don't know how fast your car stops even at the speed limit. I've had 1 very close call at 70 and Chambersbridge with a little nissan and if I didn't lay on my horn to warn them and they didn't keep rolling I would've hit her. We both stopped for the light although she should of gone through, she was past the line when she slammed her brakes on. We were going about 25 mph. None the less, that camera put me in bad spot for no good reason. You have to know what's behind you when you slam your brakes on.
Maria Cacciola July 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I couldn't agree MORE!!! I want my money back too! I heard on the radio (94.3) that there was a way for people who had gotten tickets to get a refund because of the fact that the lights were timed wrong. Why should thousands of people be out of their own money because of a technicality. Those camera's were never put up for our safety in the first place it was just a money maker like said in previous posts. I have also witnessed people braking early causing fender benders in fear of getting a ticket when most people would have just gone through the yellow light!
Illegitimi non carborundum March 22, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Still, the general public isn't going to have access to the programmable controllers database. I suspect it would be a cold day in Hell before something that sensitive were produced by request. You say it's very easy to do? I'll bite...
Tom Cular March 23, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Brett, you've made the only intelligent reply to this issue. You and I both know that timing can be adjusted to extend the amber or delay the green or extend the red in all directions. These red light tickets are nothing more than an Acropolis/Pezzaris fund raiser. The Co. that furnishes the camera equip. has a dummy Co. set up that promotes the camera use. Add the fact that they receive half of the fine money, makes me question their motives.

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