Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon, from Wikipedia
Red-light cameras continue to be a hot news topic with yet another state -- New Jersey -- joining the growing number of states supporting red-light cameras.
While New Jersey isn't new to red-light cameras -- the state is currently operating under a five-year pilot program in 17 municipalities utilizing the technology -- the results of a new poll seem to indicate votes support expansion of the program statewide. By a 71 to 24 percent margin, poll respondents strongly supported broader access to the technology in the state.
This comes just days after a study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showing support for red-light cameras in 14 major U.S. cities.
The controversy just won't go away. Poll respondents are all over the place when it comes to use of cameras in traffic enforcement. Some view the cameras as an invasion of privacy. Others say the cameras are just a revenue-collection scheme. Some doubt the effectiveness of cameras in saving lives. Proponents are equally vocal in saying red light cameras do save lives.
Looking at the results of the New Jersey poll, it appears there's overwhelming support for their use at busy intersections to monitor drivers who run red lights.
The poll, conducted by National Research Inc. for the National Coalition for Safe Roads (NCSR) shows that 77 percent of 600 likely voters polled support red-light camera use. This number includes 43 percent strongly supporting the safety cameras.Only 22 percent opposed the use of red-light cameras.
While it may seem intuitive, more than half (56 percent) of the New Jersey voters polled said they are a more careful driver when the cameras are present. And more than seven in ten (71 percent) said other drivers are more careful when they know red-light cameras are present.
There was most support for speed cameras in school zones (74 percent), followed by 59 percent favoring their use to monitor speed in construction zones. Voters were nearly evenly split on their use on local roads in residential neighborhoods with 45 percent saying yes and 50 percent saying no.
Another poll highlight was an open-ended question about why those surveyed supported the cameras. Sixty-nine percent cited the safety of other drivers and pedestrians and 59 percent cited law enforcement and prevention of violating the law.
See complete results of the New Jersey poll here.[NCSR]