10/22/2007New Jersey: City to Install Stop Sign Cameras
Hoboken City Council votes to bring photo enforcement back to New Jersey with stop sign and red light cameras.
A city in New Jersey is testing the waters for the automated issuance of traffic tickets, despite a statewide legislative ban on the use of speed cameras. The Hoboken City Council gave preliminary approval last Wednesday to a measure authorizing itself to use both red light cameras and newer stop sign cameras. Mayor David Roberts expects the devices to generate a significant number of expensive citations from commuters passing through Hoboken.
Stop sign cameras are based on red light camera platforms, but they differ greatly in use. The more familiar stoplight cameras typically photograph a vehicle entering an intersection if a signal light changes to red between 0.1 and 0.3 seconds after the car crosses a stop bar line. Stop sign cameras make calculations to determine whether a vehicle did not stop for a long enough period behind a stop bar line. The first stop sign cameras in the country began ticketing in Los Angeles, California in July, as first reported on TheNewspaper.
Hoboken's move is surprising considering New Jersey was one of the first states to revolt against automated ticketing machines. In April 1992, state officials announced their participation in a federally funded photo radar pilot project. After warning signs were posted, the public outcry was so great that the New Jersey Assembly rushed to vote 74 to 1 to ban the program three months later and before a single ticket had even been issued.
"A law enforcement officer or agency shall not use photo radar to enforce the provisions of chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes," New Jersey Code Section 39:4-103.1 states. "As used in this act, 'photo radar' means a device used primarily for highway speed limit enforcement substantially consisting of a radar unit linked to a camera, which automatically produces a photograph of a vehicle traveling at a speed in excess of the legal limit."
As most red light cameras also measure speed, and red light cameras were not in common use at the time the law was passed, the ban has been interpreted as applying to intersection cameras. The legislature has rejected several attempts to authorize photo ticketing of any kind.