In our previous post, we mentioned a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showing that the majority of drivers in cities having red light cameras support their use to prevent accidents and improve safety. That survey looked at 14 large U.S. cities that have employed the cameras over an extended period of time.
A recent survey by the National Coalition for Safer Roads said that the majority of New Jersey drivers surveyed also support the use of red light cameras. Out of the 600 individuals surveyed, at least 77 percent approved the use of the devices at busy intersections in order to hold drivers who run red lights accountable. Of those surveyed 56 percent said they change their behavior when they know that a red light camera is set up at a particular intersection. The survey corroborates a 2010 study by AAA, which found that 75 percent of drivers approved of red light cameras.
New Jersey currently has a five-year pilot red light camera program, with 17 municipalities participating. The cities participating in the program are installing the cameras in intersections for which other means have been ineffective at reducing the number of accidents and citations occurrences.
As far as the survey shows, New Jersey drivers generally want to see an expansion of red light camera use. Around 71 percent of drivers surveyed said they would like to see the camera program expand beyond the pilot program, as long as the cameras aren’t funded by taxpayers.
The survey has not had the best reception, however, particularly from the New Jersey National Motorists’ Association, who claim that the National Coalition for Safer Roads is funded by the operators and manufacturers of the red light cameras. According to spokesman Steve Carellas, red light cameras “don’t cost-effectively contribute to safety,” and their use is relatively unknown by the public. Carellas said a better step would be to increase the yellow light time by one second rather than installing cameras at dangerous intersections.
Source: Daily Record, “Survey: NJ drivers give green light to red light cameras,” Larry Higgs, 6 July 2011.