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New York Voters Express Strong Support for Red-light Cameras

NEW YORK--A new statewide survey conducted by national research firm Public Opinion Strategies (POS) reveals 77 percent of New York voters support the use of red-light cameras to monitor vehicles that run red lights compared to just 18 percent opposed. This widespread public support for red-light camera safety programs is strong in all gender and age demographics, in all regions of the state.

Highlights from the survey findings include:

  • 77% of New York voters say that they support the use of red-light cameras in their community to monitor vehicles running red lights at high traffic volume intersections. Support by women is 81% compared to 72% of men. 81% of African Americans support cameras, and 76% of whites.
  • Support in the New York City boroughs (where red-light cameras have been used since 1994) is 85% in favor. 12% oppose red-light cameras. Support in the New York City suburbs is 76% compared to 17% who oppose. In Upstate New York, 69% of voters support the use of red-light cameras compared to 24% opposed.
  • Even those voters who have received tickets for speeding or running red lights support red-light cameras.
  • Despite the overwhelming support, voters are not confident that their neighbors share the same opinion. Only 39% think their neighbors support the use of cameras and 33% think their neighbors oppose.
  • Two-thirds of New Yorkers believe red-light cameras improve traffic safety.
  • Speed enforcement cameras (not currently allowed in New York) also had strong support of the voters. By a margin of 88% to 10%, voters support speed enforcement cameras in school zones to enforce speed limits. 77% to 19% support speed cameras in highway construction zones and 65% support speed cameras on New York roadways and highways, compared to 29% who oppose using speed cameras on state roads.

“This poll proves that the public overwhelmingly supports red-light camera programs in Nassau County and across the state to save lives and make our roadways safer,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine who sponsored Nassau County’s red-light camera legislation. “Red-light camera programs are proven to significantly reduce red-light running violations in the communities where they have been used and will make Nassau County roads safer.”

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (Syracuse) said, “The results of this poll confirm what I have been hearing from my constituents: that there is broad support for common-sense law enforcement techniques that make our roadways safer. Red-light camera programs are already in use in communities across New York State and the country, and they have proven to significantly reduce red-light running violations. I was pleased to sponsor this bill in the Assembly, and I look forward to working with the City of Syracuse to ensure that our red-light camera program is implemented as quickly as is practical.”

Assemblyman Mike Spano (Yonkers) said, “Clearly New Yorkers understand the value of red-light cameras. This strong showing of public support will help make the program more effective and keep our roads safer."

State Senator Antoine Thompson (Buffalo) said, “The hope for red-light cameras is that drivers will be more cautious and more aware of their surroundings. I am a supporter of red-light cameras along with 77% of voters in New York."

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) review of international red-light camera studies concluded that cameras reduce red-light running violations 40 to 50 percent and reduce injury crashes by 25 to 30 percent. In addition to reducing red-light running at camera-equipped sites, studies also show that violation reductions carry over to signalized intersections not equipped with cameras, indicating community-wide changes in driver behavior. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses – deaths, injuries and property damage – from crashes on the nation’s highways.

“The support registered for red-light cameras in New York State is consistent with voters’ attitudes toward this public safety technology around the country,” said Frank Hinds, co-founder of the Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance. Hinds’ daughter, Jennifer, was killed by a red-light runner. “Our experience is that red-light and speed cameras improve drivers’ behavior, reduce crashes and save lives.”

Six New York counties and cities currently have the authority to implement red-light camera safety programs in the wake of legislation signed into law this past legislative session. Previously, only New York City had legislative authorization to implement red-light cameras. New York City’s red-light camera program, which is run by American Traffic Solutions, has been in place since 1994. NYC has logged a 73 percent reduction in red-light violations since the red-light cameras were activated and many pedestrian, bicyclist and motorists’ lives have been saved by the reduction in crashes.

Nassau County began installation of red-light cameras at 50 intersections during the first week of August. Aside from Yonkers, Suffolk County and the cities of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo have legislative authorization to implement red-light camera programs.

The survey was conducted August 23-25, 2009 by Public Opinion Strategies and was commissioned by American Traffic Solutions, which operates large municipal and county photo enforcement programs in New York City, Nassau County and more than 200 communities across the United States and Canada.

About American Traffic Solutions:

As the innovators of the first photo-enforcement program in the United States in 1987, ATS is also the fastest growing provider in North America, serving more than 200 communities including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Houston, Seattle and San Diego. ATS also offers PlatePass®, an automated electronic toll payment service that enables rental vehicle customers to use high speed, cashless electronic toll lanes. ATS is a privately-owned, U.S. corporation headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. For more information, please visit:, or