Red Light Camera Trial Period Extended

At Thursday night’s Mayor & Council meeting, Police Chief Paul Morrison reported that the warning phase  for the video red light camera system at the intersection of Locust Street and Westfield Avenue has been extended from April 30th till Sunday, May 8th.  The American Traffic Solutions (ATS) camera system is still operational during the trial period but no summonses have been, or will be issued, until Monday, May 9, 2011.

“We had experienced some malfunctions with the cameras and they had to be re-adjusted,” Police Chief Morrison stated during his Police Department Report, “They were taking some false photos. That problem has been corrected. There hasn’t been any further issues but due to the malfunction there may have been motorists who ran the red light who did not receive warnings.”

Later during on the police report, 5th ward councilman Michael Yakubov asked the police chief to clarify a point regarding the camera system. He gave an example of a motorist at the intersection – while the light is green – attempting to make a left turn and stopped because  other vehicles are coming from the opposite direction. The councilman wanted to know if the light turns red and the motorist then makes the turn, will that driver receive a summons.

The Chief responded, “The camera only responds  if you pass the stop line after the light has turned red. If you are in the intersection ‘in traffic’ you will not receive a summons.”

The example given by the councilman would only apply for vehicles driving on Locust Street because Westfield Avenue has lights specifically designated for left turns only. No discussion was made to determine if the left turn signals will also capture motorisits making left turns after their designated light has turned red.

Additionally, due to the camera system, all four (4) corners of the intersection of Locust and Westfield will become ‘No Turn On Red’. According to Mayor Joseph Accardi, the municipality is awaiting signs from the state and until those are put up, the mayor stated that those motorists who make a right on red will not be ticketed.

According the Mayor Accardi and Police Chief Morrison, all violations are reviewed by the police department before summonses are issued.