The following editorial by Senator Michael J. Doherty (R-23) was published in the November 29, 2012 edition of The Record: Opinion: Are red light cameras dangerous?
A NEW REPORT from the state Department of Transportation confirms what many opponents of red light camera ticketing systems have long suspected: Cameras lead to more accidents, more injuries and greater cost.
The NJDOT report, completed as an annual requirement of the state’s five-year red light camera pilot program, contains data showing that both the total number of crashes and the total cost of crashes have increased at intersections after cameras were installed.
Calls for Immediate Termination of Red Light Camera Pilot Program
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said that accident data collected at intersections where red light cameras are in use show that both the number and total cost of accidents have increased since the cameras were installed. Doherty said that the data, released by the New Jersey Department of Transportation as part of a report on the state’s red light camera pilot program, should lead to an immediate termination of the program.
“Before our pilot program even started, we knew from the experiences of other states that red light cameras are great at generating revenue for the government but are bad at making dangerous intersections safer for drivers,” said Doherty. “It is absolutely no surprise that red light cameras in New Jersey have failed, just as they have everywhere else, in achieving their stated goal of improving driver safety. This complete failure to achieve that primary goal of increasing driver safety should lead to the immediate termination of the red light camera pilot program.”
Senator Michael J. Doherty (R- Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset) intends to submit legislation that will require any shore communities accepting state or federal funding for rebuilding and restoration purposes to provide the general public with free beach access, and restroom facilities free of charge. His proposal will ensure that all taxpayers enjoy the fruits of public funds spent to restore shore communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“Public dollars must be spent for the maximum benefit of all citizens,” said Doherty. “I do not dispute that our shoreline must be rebuilt or that the communities impacted need assistance, but the state and federal funds that will be used to rebuild come from everyone, not just those who live or own property at the shore.”
Gov. Christie Signs Doherty Bill Designating Rt. 31 as “Tri-County Purple Heart Memorial Highway” Into Law
Legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) that honors members of the United States military who have been wounded or killed in service to our nation has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. The measure (S-1366), which designates Route 31 as the “Tri-County Purple Heart Memorial Highway,” was signed into law by the Governor during a town hall meeting in Washington Township.
“I hope this designation will serve as a visible reminder of all the brave souls who have sacrificed so much for our nation throughout its history,” said Doherty. “It’s especially fitting for Route 31 to receive this designation considering its connection to sites and battles of the American Revolution.”
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said that today’s failed effort to override the Governor’s conditional veto of S-1761, the “PANYNJ Transparency and Accountability Act,” exposes the hypocrisy of New Jersey Senate Democrats.
“During debate prior to the override vote, I tried to make the point that the New Jersey Senate already has a significant oversight role with regards to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that majority Democrats have continually ignored when convenient for their political goals.
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) blasted comments by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who was quoted in The Record as admitting he wanted to install red light cameras “…yeah, for money reasons. There, I said it. These things generate income.”
“Mayor Sokolich has admitted that he wants the money generated by red light cameras, despite the opposition of Fort Lee residents to his plan,” said Doherty. “The Mayor has stated his intention to put cameras at lights on the edge of town where he says mostly non-residents will be ticketed. If safety was truly the goal, wouldn’t he seek to have cameras installed at the most dangerous intersections rather than the ones least likely to draw residents’ ire?”
Until Amber Light Timing Resolution, DOT Should Also Not Issue New Permits to Towns in Program
Senator Michael Doherty and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said that it should be common knowledge at this point that the red light camera (“RLC”) pilot program is closed to new towns. The legislators reminded towns interested in the RLCs that the program is limited to 25 municipalities and all of those slots are currently full. Additionally, Doherty and O’Scanlon called on the Department of Transportation to stop issuing additional permits to towns already in the program.
“No local officials should be wasting their time, or their taxpayers’ money, continuing to pursue these flawed devices,” said Senator Doherty “With all the flaws that have been exposed in this program – and the fact that the program won’t be accepting new towns – it is totally irresponsible for any elected official to discuss entering the program.”
Warren Township has approved a resolution in support of Senator Michael Doherty’s legislation to ban the use of red light cameras in New Jersey. Members of the township’s committee unanimously approved the resolution in support of Doherty’s legislation, S-1952, which would prevent new towns from adding red light cameras and shut down cameras in towns that already use them.
“While some towns are enamored with the idea that they can use red light cameras to turn their residents into cash cows, it’s clear that others like Warren Township are willing to take a stand for what is right,” said Doherty. “Citizens across New Jersey should demand that their local elected officials follow the lead of Warren Township and say ‘no’ to red light cameras.”
Senate Again Passes Pennacchio, Doherty Measure to Study Rail Systems; Senators Urge Assembly Action
The New Jersey Senate passed Monday legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission in response to a recent Office of Legislative Services report that there are no efforts to regionalize rail lines. This volunteer commission will determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure.
“All rail systems should be evaluated to assure they operate in the best interest of taxpayers and commuters,” said Pennacchio, R-Morris, Passaic, Essex. “We must dedicate this commission to examine all cost-cutting solutions with our neighboring states, from consolidations to mergers, especially as two new trans-Hudson River crossing plans are being discussed by operators in New Jersey and New York.”
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) responded with dismay to published reports that prosecutions are unlikely following a criminal investigation into the collapse of MF Global and the disappearance of as much as $1.6 billion of customer funds.
“This is the first time in history that segregated funds held in customer accounts were raided by a financial firm to cover the firm’s losses,” said Doherty. “It’s almost unthinkable that the mega-rich executives at MF Global could loot the accounts of farmers and middle-class Americans and be allowed to get away with it.”