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Red Light Running Automated Enforcement


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Is the Red Light Running (RLR) Automated Enforcement Pilot Program still operational?
A.

As of December 16, 2014, 73 red-light camera intersections operating within the 24 participating municipalities no longer have the statutory authority to capture violations through automated enforcement. Without action from the Legislature, New Jersey’s Red Light Running (RLR) Automated Enforcement Pilot Program has ended.

   
Q. What if I receive a citation for a violation that occurred before or on December 16, 2014?
A.

Per state statute, municipalities are provided a 90-day timeframe in which to issue RLR citations. Violations captured on December 16 or earlier can continue to be processed and issued.

   
Q. Why was the Red Light Running (RLR) program suspended in 2012?
A. The yellow light times for certain RLR-controlled approaches, while meeting all accepted engineering practices, state and national safety standards, and New Jersey motor vehicle law, may not have complied with the language found in the RLR legislation. As such, NJDOT temporarily suspended the RLR program on July 19, 2012, to allow the affected municipalities to certify that the yellow light times satisfied the RLR law. When the certifications were received, the program was reinstated on July 25, 2012. The affected towns then had authority to begin issuing new citations, as well as issue citations captured during the temporary suspension.
   
Q. Were the citations issued prior to the suspension legal?
A.

NJDOT has no authority to make legal determinations. Any questions of legality must be addressed through the traffic court system within the municipality that issued the citation.

   
Q. How is yellow light time determined?
A. Yellow light times must be determined by engineering practice. In New Jersey, that practice is to take the speed limit and divide by 10. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) uses only whole-number yellow time values; any fraction is rounded up to the next whole number. For a more detailed explanation, please reference any of the Annual Reports and their Technical Appendices.
   
Q. The yellow light time seems short. Can I get a copy of the signal timing to check it?
A.

NJDOT can provide a certification and a copy of the date-specific timing at any state-maintained signal for the cost of $100 (check or money order made payable to NJDOT) pursuant to New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 16:1A-4.5). Requests can be made to NJDOT Maintenance Engineering and Operations, PO Box 607, Trenton, NJ 08625-0607. Request for timings at signals not maintained by the state must be sent to the appropriate municipality or county.

   
Q. Why not just increase yellow light times an extra second or two?
A. Traffic engineering experience shows that arbitrarily established yellow light times are not as safe as those established by a consistent engineering practice. Motorists drive safer and with more confidence when all traffic control devices are established uniformly, not only from town to town within New Jersey, but from state to state as well. Additionally, adding one second of yellow time would require a corresponding 10 mph increase in the speed limit. Finally, federal guidelines cap the yellow light time at six seconds, so those signals already at the maximum yellow light time would not be treated uniformly, if additional yellow light time was added.
   
Q. Why are right turns on red allowed at RLR intersections?
A. Prohibiting right turns on red is not a function of the RLR program. The current Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a federally-published standard on the use of all signals, signs and pavement markings, details the suggested conditions under which NO TURN ON RED signing should be considered. If engineering judgment determines that conditions are adequate to allow right turns on red, it is the responsibility of the motorist to assure that these maneuvers are completed safely according to the law.
   
Q. Will a right turn on red activate the RLR camera and cause a driver to get a citation?
A.

Depending on the camera system in use, such a maneuver may activate the camera. However, as long as the motorist comes to a complete stop and makes the maneuver safely, the camera image will be discarded and law enforcement personnel will not issue a ticket.

   
Q. Why aren't the stop lines better identified with STOP HERE ON RED signs?
A.

STOP HERE ON RED signs are installed when a stop line is not located where a motorist expects, usually due to intersection design constraints that may cause conflicts with intersection turning movements. Such signing is not necessary at the vast majority of signals statewide. Excessive signing can cause a motorist to lose focus on more critical messages. As long as a motorist comes to a complete stop and does not encroach upon the intersection, no citation will be issued.

   
Q. Why aren't the RED LIGHT PHOTO ENFORCED (RLPE) signs bigger and installed more in advance of the intersection to warn drivers that the signal is monitored by a camera?
A.

RLPE signs are not intended to provide advance camera notification. Their installation complies with the RLR law, as well as with the MUTCD. It is the responsibility of the motorist to come to a complete stop at every red signal, regardless of the presence of an RLR camera.

   
Q. I received an RLR ticket but there wasn't any RLPE sign? Where can I file a complaint?
A.

Any complaint regarding the issuance of an RLR citation must be addressed through the traffic court system of the particular municipality.

   
Q. Are the police actually involved in issuing RLR tickets?
A.

Yes, all RLR citations are issued by sworn law enforcement officials from the municipalities in which the violations occur. Images captured from RLR cameras are first transmitted to the RLR vendors. Vendor staff initially verifies license plate and registration information, finally reviewing to determine if a violation in fact occurred. Some of the images are rejected by the vendors for reasons such as emergency responses, legal stops beyond the stopline and legal right turns on red. Images identified by the vendor as violations are then forwarded to the appropriate police departments for a final review and determination that a violation has occurred and issuance of a citation.

   
Q. Why didn't NJDOT do a public information campaign to let drivers know that my town was an authorized RLR program participant?
A.

As per the RLR legislation, it is the responsibility of the municipality to publicize the RLR program, via adoption of an ordinance to install and utilize RLR systems, as well as to install signing notifying drivers that an RLR system is being utilized.

   
Q. How do the contracts between municipalities and the vendors work?
A.

NJDOT has no involvement with the RLR contract process, installation or maintenance of the RLR equipment. Questions regarding these contracts should be directed to the municipality or county in which the RLR cameras are located.

   
Q. How can I obtain documentation regarding RLR intersections?
A.

Requests for documentation must be made through NJDOT's Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Unit. The OPRA Unit can be reached at 609.530.8045 or the request can be made online.

   
Q. What is the fine for an RLR violation and who receives the money?
A.

An RLR violation is issued under N.J.S.A. 39:4-81, Traffic signal, observance. The municipality receives the fine portion of the violation and court costs. The fine portion may be split 50/50 with the county, if the county has partnered with the municipality for the RLR program. According to the Statewide Violations Bureau Schedule, maintained by the Administrative Office of the Court, the fine and penalty for this violation is as follows:

Fine:

Municipality
$55.00
Costs:
Municipal Court Costs
$18.50
Automated Traffic Systems Fund, Emergency Medical Technician and Fire Fighter Fund
$5.50
Special Assessments:
Body Armor Replacement Fund
$1.00
New Jersey Spinal Cord Research Fund

$1.00

New Jersey Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Lab Fee
$2.00
Autism Medical Research and Treatment Fund
$1.00
New Jersey Brain Injury Fund
$1.00
Total Penalty*
$85.00

*In Safe Corridors, 65 mph Zones, and Construction Zones, the fine portion of the penalty is doubled and that portion of the increased fine goes to the Highway Safety Fund (N.J.S.A. 39:4-98.6 and 39:4-203.5)

   
Q. If I'm in the intersection when the light turns red, will I receive a citation?
A.

No, as long as the front wheels of the vehicle has crossed completely over the painted stopline. Citation issuance can be depicted as follows:

  diagram graphic
 
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OPRA - open public records act

  Last Updated:  December 17, 2014