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New Jersey Lawmakers Reintroduce Anti-Photo Ticketing Bill
New Jersey lawmakers once again seek to withhold license plate information from photo ticketing companies.

Nick Sacco
A bipartisan group of New Jersey state senators want to protect Garden State motorists from speed cameras and red light cameras operating in other states. Photo ticketing is no longer legal in the Garden State, so legislation introduced last week by Senators Nick Sacco (D-Bergen), Nick Scutari (D-Middlesex) and Declan O'Scanlon (R-Holmdel) would prevent private companies in other jurisdictions from mailing citations to New Jersey residents. The effort is modeled on a law enacted in South Dakota blocking Iowa cities from targeting South Dakotans.

"You go on a trip through Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC or New York City and you receive multiple tickets in the mail a month or more later and you have no way to defend yourself," Sacco said in a statement on the bill's introduction. "It's infuriating."

S2893, as introduced, forbids the state Motor Vehicle Commission from cooperating with NLETS, the interstate motor vehicle information network that red light camera and speed camera companies use to look up the license plate and registration information on out-of-state drivers. Without this information, the ticket cannot be mailed.

New Jersey's brief flirtation with red light cameras ended in 2014 when then-Governor Chris Christie (R) told lawmakers not to bother sending reauthorization legislation to his desk. The former federal prosecutor had been a fan of photo enforcement until he saw the devices failed to deliver the reduction in accidents promised in New Jersey. O'Scanlon echoed that view, citing national data (view studies).

"We now have overwhelming proof that red-light and speed cameras don't improve safety," O'Scanlon noted. "Every competent, independent, rigorous study done to date has shown that there is a net decrease in safety when these systems are employed. There is absolutely no reason why New Jersey should be complicit in these corrupt, highway robbery schemes."

The license plate protection bill has been considered before, and in 2016 the measure passed the state Senate unanimously. The bill was then blocked from consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee by then-Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), the legislature's foremost advocate for automated ticketing. Wisniewski stepped down after losing a bid to become governor. Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Hamilton Square) now heads the panel.

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