Video Proves Traffic Lights Are Rigged To Issue More Tickets, Or Maybe It Proves They Aren’t

The two sides of the red-light camera war in New Jersey can not agree on exactly what these videos show.

The two sides of the red-light camera war in New Jersey can not agree on exactly what these videos show.

Red-light cameras — those automated devices that snap photos of drivers caught zipping illegally through an intersection — are a hot-button topic across the country, as cash-strapped governments employ them as a cost-effective way to bring in revenue while opponents claim they are often inaccurate. One New Jersey lawmaker says he has definitive video proof that some traffic lights are rigged to snag a higher number of drivers on camera, but the maker of the cameras says the video actually proves just the opposite.

First, there is the original video from New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, in which he claims to demonstrate that yellow lights at multiple intersections do not last as long as they are supposed to:

These few fractions could mean as much as a 30% increase in the number of drivers ticketed by red-light cameras, O’Scanlon tells the Newark Star-Ledger. And at $85 to $140 per ticket (multiplied by large number of cameras in use), you’re looking at a significant amount of money.

However, the folks at American Traffic Solutions, which provides red-light cameras, have pulled apart O’Scanlon’s video frame by frame. They claim that the video actually shows that the timing on these lights is 100% accurate and that O’Scanlon’s timer doesn’t start counting until well after the light turns yellow:

This has, predictably, ignited a war of words between the two sides, with each claiming the other’s method for timing the lights was inaccurate. O’Scanlon also alleges that ATS duplicated frames for its video.

A rep for ATS tells the Star-Ledger, “There has been a tremendous amount of misinformation in the past year and a half that has given many drivers the wrong impression… Further analysis of the [O’Scanlon] video shows what we’ve known to be the case all along: The yellow-light timing at New Jersey red-light camera safety approaches is, was and will always be in compliance with state law.”

Neither side will admit that it’s video is inaccurate or misleading, so there’s not much else to do but continue pointing fingers.

“Apparently there’s no limit to what some are willing to say or do to manufacture outrage over what has otherwise been a very successful public safety initiative,” says ATS.

“There’s no end to what the red-light camera company representatives will claim to keep our money flowing into their pockets,” responds O’Scanlon.

Dueling videos take N.J. red-light camera battle to a new front []

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.