O’Scanlon to motorists: ‘Beware! The next attempt by corrupt camera company to steal from NJ drivers is underway’

By Senator-elect Declan O’Scanlon

Senator-elect Declan O’Scanlon

New Jersey motorists need to be warned that Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., one of the two now-infamous red light camera companies blessedly sent packing with the end of the failed pilot program in December, is trying to bring automated enforcement back to the state. This is company U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall was referring to when she said this at the bribery sentencing of former Redflex CEO Karen Finely: ‘… But when we have a corporation that is in the community making millions of dollars on a product that abuses the people, there is no sense of corporate social responsibility there. … That impact cannot be underestimated.’ Nice.

This time they are hiding behind our children’s so-called ‘safety’ in the form of cameras on school buses. No one should be fooled. We proved red light cameras were a scam hiding behind false safety claims, and this bill is more of the same.

The first fallacy is that this bill  (S211/A3798) is at all needed. School bus cameras are already legal.  Don’t be fooled by anyone suggesting these systems are prohibitively expensive to install.  Almost every bus sold today has recording equipment already installed to video inside the bus. Installing outside cameras runs around $300 to $900.  We don’t need to sell our souls to these companies to save a few hundred dollars. This bill simply permits these corrupt companies to automate enforcement, which is completely unnecessary. Any time you interject a private company with a pure money-making objective into the enforcement mix, it is a bad idea.

These companies are invoking concern for kids, implying that if you oppose the cameras you don’t care about the safety of school children. It’s a pretty shrewd public relations move. People who do make a conscious decision to pass stopped school buses with lights flashing should be punished along with folks who choose to run red lights. There aren’t many of those drivers. Just like red light cameras, automated school bus cameras will be set up to take advantage of non-hazardous technical violations so enough tickets are written to pay for the cameras. Since there aren’t enough violators they will jack up fines to the point of being ridiculous. The overwhelming number of tickets issued would be to people behaving reasonably, but making minor technical violations like stopping 24 feet from a bus rather than the 25 feet required by law.

In the case of a car approaching a school bus with blinking red lights on the opposite side of a divided highway, the law requires the driver to slow to 10 miles per hour to pass. I would guess 99 out of 100 people don’t know the law. Under the bill, we’re all candidates for tickets. Most of us will slow down and proceed with caution, perhaps passing at only 11 to 15 mph. The camera company is counting on thousands of us making such technical violations at $250 to $500 each.

I am working to educate legislators, editorial boards and the public so we don’t again fall for the false claims of automated enforcement firms who have been caught blatantly lying about their products and bribing officials throughout the country. Redflex Traffic Systems is leading the lobbying charge to permit the scheme. Opening our wallets to automated enforcement companies that have proven they will take every opportunity to lie and steal from us is not the answer.

It is rare for children to be struck by cars illegally passing school buses. One is too many, but cameras on school buses are already legal and can be used to provide video evidence to support a bus driver’s contention that an infraction occurred and have local police issue a summons. The current proposal would give for-profit companies the right to operate these systems and an incentive to generate as many tickets as possible, justified or not.

We must remain vigilant so we don’t again permit these corrupt companies unfettered access to our wallets. Using concern for our children’s safety to manipulate us is shameful, but not unexpected. Redflex is the same firm involved in a bribery scandal that, according to at least one former top executive, already touches New Jersey. We don’t want to be in bed with these scoundrels ever again. Now is the time to stop them once and for all.

Posted: January 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Red Light Cameras | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “O’Scanlon to motorists: ‘Beware! The next attempt by corrupt camera company to steal from NJ drivers is underway’”

  1. This guy gets it said at 7:55 am on January 3rd, 2018:

    Thanks for bringing reason and logic to the [lack of] debate in Trenton, Declan.

    If you would please consider making it an item on your research and todo list, can you PLEASE help the public in understanding posted speed limits? For example, down here in Howell, I can be on a “secondary road” with no shoulder and a double yellow line down the middle, houses set back 50′ from the road, posted speed limit is 45MPH. Yet over on the state highway 2 blocks over, posted speed limit is 50MPH, because you know, 5mph difference when there are shoulders, concrete dividers, no residential homes somehow makes sense. But the real disgusting part of it is when I turn from one secondary road to another and BAM, 35MPH and a police officer with his or her radar waiting at the change over.

    Who sets these seemingly arbitrary speed limits? 25,35,40,45,50 on roads that are or could be the exact same road.
    Who can change these speed limits? At the least make them consistent.
    Who determined, and in what year, that these should be the speed limits? I like to think that with modern cars, ABS, power steering, automatic braking, better headlights and so on, speed limits that were probably set in the late 50s, 60s, or 70s, when cars had manual steering and brakes, can probably be safely raised.

    Please see what you can do, it’s the insurance companies ripping off the public by increasing premiums for “speeding”, in areas where the speed limit is so arbitrarily and unreasonably low or changed from place to place. As you know, its the technicality of “speeding”, not that all of these drivers getting these tickets are somehow recklessly ignoring basic safety and being unreasonable.

    If you need a good starting point, check Howell, NJ — come down 547 from I195/exit 31A… 50mph down that road – straight, no shoulders, double yellow line, houses 50′ or less from the road. Make a left on to Oak Glen Rd: double yellow line, 50′ setback, residential – 45mph. Make the left on Allenwood-Lakewood Rd: double yellow line, 50′ setback, residential – same 45mph. Make the quick right on Arnold Blvd- double yellow line, 50′ house set back, if you were just dropped off on the side of that road and had to guess, you could be on either of the previous two roads leading up to Arnold – yet right there will be a 35mph sign hidden by some trees and a Howell police officer there to remind you that you have to drive 10mph slower, because money, not safety says so. Howell PD will try to tell you “ohh the school down the street” – but then I ask you to go drive down Squankum Yellowbrook Rd, in front of the high school or middle school – 45mph! same double yellow line, 50′ setbacks, no shoulders. And mind you, Arnold is a basically level and straight road, the others have twists and turns, even small changes in elevation along the way, at 45mph, but not the speed trap at Arnold… 35. When you’re heading back north, come all of the way up Oak Glen – pass by Oak Glen Park where **THE CHILDREN** might play, 45mph, pass by the library and police station, where there are no houses or people that might be outside, 40mph (again, because the 5mph means safety!) . Meanwhile, how many speeding tickets get issued right there because drivers would be going 45 in a 40, on the same road, where there are even less houses and people. And I’m sure that every town across the state has at least a dozen of these places. Scam.

  2. Thank you Senator-elect Declan O'Scanlon said at 11:54 pm on January 4th, 2018:

    This company (Redflex Traffic Systems) reminds me of the phone-scammers who will relentlessly call your cell phone three times a week for months on end until someone makes the foolish mistake of picking up.

    Then they begin calling five times a week.

    Aaaaaand the cycle repeats.

  3. Wondering said at 11:44 am on January 5th, 2018:

    if/ how much that company may have donated to the incoming governor and/ or Dem majority legislators. At the very least, any new equipment must be competitively bid for, not assumed to be obtained from one company! The problem with this is,and will continue to be, being the nearly irrelevant minority. The only way for our party to have any say at all now, is to have constant, coordinated messaging directly to the people: forget your happy- face pictures on Facebook to get elected: start using all blogs, sites and media now, to message how bad this is going to be for taxpayers in this state. Articles that are brief ,and loud,and to the point, are a good start: ALL remaining GOP legislators need to caucus frequently,and politically, rather than weakly going in, casting “ no” votes so they can say they “ tried,” and then just go home forlornly, while taking the pay check. We must expect and put forth a much stronger opposition, if we are ever to matter in this state, again!