Joseph A. Lombardo
It seems like a new technological innovation debuts just about every day. While some of these debuts are received with joy and delight (finally, the perfect smartphone app!) others are met with groans of dismay. For most people, red light cameras fall into the latter category. Since their American debut in the early 1980s, red light cameras have come a long way; but they’re still not entirely perfect. In light of allegations that cameras in some New Jersey towns ticketed drivers based on faulty readings — and that state officials were accepting bribes from the camera company — refunds may be in order for motorists unfairly charged with traffic violations.
Did Redflex Bribe New Jersey to Use its Red Light Cameras?
Red light cameras are in use across the United States, dotting major cities from Chicago to Miami to New York City. But in at least five New Jersey communities — Newark, Cherry Hill, Englewood, Edison, and Stratford — the cameras have come under fire.
On Friday, plaintiff’s attorneys filed papers in federal court for a proposed settlement with Redflex Traffic Systems, which sells camera systems to countries around the globe. If the settlement agreement is approved, Redflex would pay just over $2 million, which would cover one tenth of the questionable fines.
But the plot thickens. The Redflex debacle isn’t simply a case of glitchy equipment — there have been allegations of bribery as well.
“It’s a Disgusting System That Exists Just to Steal Money.”
Nor is this the first time Redflex has been criticized for bribing officials. In 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported the Arizona-based company footed nearly $1,000 in luxury expenses to help “convince” a city official involved with Chicago’s red light camera program. Aaron Rosenberg, former Redflex sales executive, said that bribery was a regular occurrence.
One of Rosenberg’s accusations of bribery pointed to New Jersey, prompting NJ State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank) to launch a probe into the matter. Like many New Jerseyans, O’Scanlon takes a dim view of the use of red light cameras, calling it “a disgusting system that exists just to steal money.” According to O’Scanlon, Redflex is being permitted to commit “sanctioned theft.”
O’Scanlon also feels Redflex is stealing away safety itself. The Red Bank Assemblyman commented, “The cameras have a history of increasing accidents — certainly not decreasing accidents — and the camera companies have a history of lying about those facts. And municipal officials have a history of choosing to fall prey to the camera companies’ misinformation campaigns so that they can feel better about stealing from their constituents.”
Unsurprisingly, Redflex disagrees with O’Scanlon’s scathing remarks. According to a statement from the company, “We are committed to transparency and honesty in our business practices. Our focus continues to be on providing best in class customer service and technology to our clients to make their communities safer.”
What do you think? Do red light cameras help make our roads safer? Or are they nothing more than a dangerous money-pit?
In either case, if you received a ticket prior to August of 2012 in one of the five communities involved in the settlement, you could be eligible for a refund. To speak with an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer, call the law offices of Joseph Lombardo at (609) 418-4537, or contact us online.
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