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Red Light Cameras: Just the Facts, Ma'am

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On July 24, the state of New Jersey re-authorized the use of 63 red light cameras that were previously used to ticket motorists running red lights, and/or turning right on red without stopping.

The issue was the proper calibration of the cameras. To meet the standards of the red-light camera pilot program, the yellow light must last one second for every 10 mph of the speed at which 85 percent of the vehicles approach the intersection. For example, if 85 percent of the cars travel at 50 mph through an intersection, the yellow light has to be at least five seconds long. Many cameras had been calibrated based upon the speed limit, not the 85% of traffic speed manditated by law.

A difference of half a second – a calculated average speed that is off by 5 mph – can signficantly increase the number of violations given at an intersection.

We at Ghabour law advise you to always obey the law, and drive defensively on New Jersey's dangerous roads. If you are ticketed and feel that you were driving legally, you should film the light in question for several minutes, as well as requesting the calibration report for that light.

However, if you choose to challenge the ticket in court yourself, you will be facing a muncipal court judge, a prosecutor, and will need to question and request witnesses – all within the bounds of courtroom procedure.

If you contact an attorney to protect your rights, not only will they handle potential light calibration issues, they will understand courtroom procedure, and/or work to avoid going to court, as well as potentially recovering your legal fees.

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