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Are red-light cameras causing car accidents in Lawrence?

New Jersey's much-criticized red-light camera program has taken several hits lately, including new data showing that rear-end collisions have increased at the intersection of Route 1 and Bakers Basin Road since cameras were put in place.

Lawrence town officials are now trying to decide whether to drop out of the program intended to reduce car accidents and traffic violations at intersections.

Lawrence's town manager said the decision to remain in the red-light program is a simple one: "If it's not safer, we shouldn't do it."

In the year since the lights were installed in November 2011 at the busy intersection, there were 39 read-end collisions, up from 30 in the year before. That's an increase of more than 25 percent in just 12 months.

The total number of accidents, including collisions other than rear-end crashes, also went up, rising from 38 to 50, the town's police department said.

The town manager said the reason for being part of the program was to make the intersection safer; a goal clearly not achieved.

Before officials make a decision on the fate of the cameras recording activity in the intersection, they say they will meet with the company selling the systems in order to get its input on the crash data.

The manager said the town has several options, including stepping up efforts to make the red-light program more effective. If it isn't possible to do that, elimination of the cameras is a possibility.

The town signed a five-year deal for the system, paying $222,000 for the first year of use. The fee for the cameras is paid by traffic ticket fines generated by the cameras.

In that first year of use, the cameras generated $659,227 in fines on a total of 9,621 citations issues to drivers who failed to stop their vehicles at the light or who rolled their vehicles through a red-light right-hand turn.

Anyone injured in a car accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver should speak with a personal injury law firm about available legal options and compensation for damages.

Source: The Times of Trenton, "Rear-end car accidents at Lawrence intersection have increased since red-light cameras were installed," Feb. 28, 2013

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