LETTER – O’Scanlon Decries Assault on Motorists – beware the speed trap

Balic of Clinton Banner

In an incredible, ironic confluence of events, two different bills are up simultaneously in separate committees that, if enacted, will serve to enable the fleecing of reasonable and safe New Jersey motorists.

Red-light cameras are – for now – a thing of the past, but the same flawed and failed technology, this time attached to school buses, might be a thing of the future. A bill (A3798) to do just that will be voted on Thursday in the Assembly Education Committee. Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon calls it for-profit traffic enforcement at the expense of innocent drivers.

“The ‘Use Our Kids as Pawns to Enrich Corrupt Companies’ legislation, is completely unnecessary. The use of security cameras on school buses is already legal and being operated just fine. This bill simply permits for-profit companies, the very same corrupt and dishonest companies which operated the scandalous red light camera program in New Jersey, to come in and operate the school bus cameras,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Under this bill stopping 24 feet behind a school bus, rather than the required 25 feet, could land you with a $500 fine!

“Mark my words, the for-profit companies that would operate school bus cameras won’t be able to make a profit just on people blatantly driving by a school bus.  Of course, even if they could, the temptation to maximize profits by ticketing harmless technical violations will be immense. Why would anyone want to cut these companies into the revenue from genuine violations?

“Denville and Pemberton both have great systems installed and operating on some of their school buses – and all the revenue goes to the local municipality. Works like a charm – with no corrupt, money grubbing red light camera company involvement whatsoever.  The costs for these cameras can be easily recouped by ticket revenue.  When I say this bill is totally unnecessary, I mean it 100%!”

Meanwhile, at the same time, the Assembly Transportation Committee will vote on A4336, which removes any sound engineering criteria or safety assessment of speed limits in school zones and A4337 – doubling fines in school zones.  Currently, school zone speed limits must be appropriately looked at by traffic engineers, set typically at 25mph and enforced during reasonable, at times when school children would be present.

“This ‘speed trap proliferation bill’ permits arbitrary speed limits, and permits those limits to be enforced 24/7, with no consideration to when school children are present. An irresponsible municipal official wants to create a speed trap…maybe to collect more of the doubled fines in the companion bill?  No problem under this bill. That official can simply create one of these zones and it doesn’t matter if it’s 11pm on a Saturday in July, they can enforce any speed limit they want; 25, 15, or even 10mph on what ordinarily might be expected to be a 35 or 45mph roadway when children aren’t present,” O’Scanlon continued.

The bill would also lead to a dramatic increase in drivers racking up license points. “A 15 mph limit means that if you are driving 31 mph at 11pm on a Saturday night, or any time when children are not around, you get a 4-point ticket on top of the ridiculous, unjustified fine. Outrageous? Ridiculous? You bet. We are here today and we are fighting for fair treatment for the beleaguered drivers of New Jersey.”