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9/4/2013
New Jersey Governor Flip-Flops Again On Red Light Cameras
On radio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie moves from red light camera supporter, to skeptic, to supporter once again.

Chris ChristieNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has once again reversed his position on red light cameras. He started last year as a unabashed supporter of automated ticketing machines only to change his mind a few months later, announcing in April that no more red light cameras could be installed in New Jersey, pending renewal of the camera program by the state legislature in December 2014. In October, Christie said he was going to "work with" state Assemblyman Declan J. O'Scanlon Jr. (R-Monmouth) to come up with a "solution" to the red light camera problem. Appearing on New Jersey 101.5 radio's "Ask the Governor" show last week, however, Christie turned on his former legislative ally.

"I know Declan's all fired up about this -- and good for him," Christie said. "But the information he's put forth to me is unconvincing -- very unconvincing."

The state's own accident data show accidents have became more severe at the intersections where red light cameras were installed (view report). In Glassboro, a one-second increase in the duration of yellow timing at an intersection reduced violations by 88 percent. O'Scanlon has gone further by using video to document overly short yellow signals throughout the state, a claim the red light camera vendor American Traffic Solutions has strongly denied. In his comments last week, Christie adopted one of the favorite lines of red light camera supporters.

"Don't run red lights," Christie said, "And you won't have to worry about it... You're not going to get a ticket if you don't run the red light."

Christie circled back to the language he used to endorse red light cameras in July 2012.

"So I understand some people are fired up about this issue," Christie said. "The easiest thing in the world for me would be to say, 'OK, pull the plug on it. Look at me, I'm a hero.' And for the minority of people complaining about this, I would be. But you know what, unless I'm given better proof than I've been given so far that there's something fundamentally at fault with this program, then I'm not going to stick my nose into the middle of it. And so, no, nothing in my view has changed."

O'Scanlon says even though Christie is "dead wrong" on the camera issue, he remains an ally of his and is hopeful the governor will come around.

"There is no way he could have objectively examined the facts, and made the statements he made recently," O'Scanlon told TheNewspaper. "The administration has almost never failed to be responsive to my arguments -- eventually agreeing with me, or convincing me with their arguments. This debate isn't over. I am confident in the end this historically open-minded administration will see the facts and kill this program, or let it die."

Christie also responded to the August 27 New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruling suggesting someone who sends a text message to a driver, knowing the message recipient is behind the wheel at the time of the message, could be held liable in the event of an accident.

"Yeah, I think that's kinda stupid," Christie said. "First of all, you shouldn't text someone when you know they're driving. But then again, how do you know how long they're going to be in the car? Ultimately, it's still the obligation of the driver."




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