For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Nick Juliano
Red Light Running Up 98% Since Newark Red Light Cameras Shut Off
New Figures of red light running violations tracked by City of Newark show dangerous trend since end of camera enforcement program
Newark, New Jersey – February 20, 2015– Dangerous red light running is up an alarming 98% at intersections where red light cameras have been for five years after being shut off in the City of Newark. According to statistics provided to the Traffic Safety Coalition by the Newark Department of Engineering, Division of Traffic and Signals, 39,638 red light running violations were detected from January 17, 2015 through February 15, 2015 compared to just 20,007 when the cameras were in operation during the same time period the year before – an increase of 19,631 more people running a red light.
The increase in red light running during the second month cameras were turned off is nearly twice as much as it was during the first month they were off when red light running was up 56%. Also according to data from the City of Newark, 31,494 red light running violations were detected from December 18, 2014 through January 16, 2015 compared to just 20,162 from December 18, 2013 through January 16, 2014 when the cameras were in operation.
The dramatic increase represents an alarming trend in Newark: the longer cameras are off, the more reckless drivers are becoming.
“As a mother whose daughter was killed by a red light runner, a 98% increase in red light running is something I find very concerning because more people are now at risk since traffic safety cameras were turned off in Newark,” said Sue Oberhauser, national co-chair of the Traffic Safety Coalition, whose daughter Sarah was killed by a red light runner in 2002. “Red light cameras reduce red light running, crashes, and save lives.”
Newark’s red light cameras were turned off on December 16, 2014, when the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)-administered camera pilot program was ended despite the state not issuing its mandated reports on the program’s 4thand 5th years. To measure the impact of the end of the camera program on driver behavior, the City of Newark continued to collect data at intersections formerly equipped with cameras without issuing citations.
When traffic safety cameras were in operation, Newark experienced a dramatic decrease in red light running and crashes. Total crashes were down 83%, including an 83% reduction in rear-end crashes, at intersections where cameras were present for five years. Perhaps most significantly, the most dangerous category of accidents, right-angle or “t-boning” crashes fell 100% at those same intersections according to reports from the City of Newark’s Division of Traffic and Signals.
“[W]e [are] trying to get to zero, zero is where we want to be and the red light cameras help us get to zero,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka at a news conference on December 5, 2014 with law enforcement, other New Jersey mayors, state legislators and traffic safety advocates calling for a continuation of the program.
Legislation (A3964/S2643) has introduced by Assembly members L. Grace Spencer (D-29), Ralph Caputo (D-28) and Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29) and Senators Ronald Rice (D-28) and M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29), respectively, would make New Jersey’s traffic safety camera program permanent and remove the cap restricting the number of municipalities able to participate. The Traffic Safety Coalition and its partners support this legislation and urge lawmakers to pass it in order to keep New Jersey’s roads safe.
About the Traffic Safety Coalition:
The Traffic Safety Coalition is funded by the traffic safety camera industry and its supporters to assist ongoing advocacy and education efforts of traffic safety experts, law enforcement, public officials, victims’ advocates, health care professionals and concerned citizens committed to making our roads and intersections safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. TSC partners share a commitment to traffic safety. No TSC partner organization or individual is compensated for their involvement. The Traffic Safety Coalition is managed by Resolute Consulting, a Chicago-based public affairs firm.
The Traffic Safety Coalition received the 2011 Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association for outstanding achievements in highway safety. Read more here.
We work with our partners throughout the country to teach drivers the importance of safe and responsible driving. By buckling up, slowing down and obeying the rules of the road, we are working together to create a safer environment for everyone on the road.
To download the full press release, click here.