Over 70 percent of D.C. residents support the area’s traffic camera program.

A recent survey found that D.C. area residents support the use of traffic cameras by local law enforcement.  The survey was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and found that D.C. area residents largely support both red-light and speed cameras.  Overall, 87 percent of those surveyed were in favor of red-light cameras, while 76 percent were in favor of speed cameras.  71 percent of drivers supported traffic cameras, while 90 percent of non-drivers supported traffic cameras.  These numbers are surprising to some given that the area’s camera program has been often portrayed as unpopular and unfair in the media.

D.C. traffic camera program generates an annual revenue of $78.8 million.

Last fiscal year, the City issued approximately 700,000 tickets, which generated a total of $78.8 million in revenue for the City.  The City is on track to match these numbers for the coming year.  The City issued nearly 335,000 speed camera tickets between October 2012 and March 2013.  These tickets generated a total of $44.8 million for the City.  AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that in fiscal year 2012, the City issued 91,500 red light camera tickets, generating approximately $13 million.

D.C. traffic camera program has drastically reduced traffic fatalities. 

The Metropolitan Police Department defends the traffic camera program by cite to traffic fatality statistics.  Since traffic cameras were introduced into the City 11 years ago, traffic fatalities have decreased significantly.  The City has experienced a 73 percent reduction in traffic fatalities.

Residents continue to question some aspects of D.C.’s traffic camera program.

However, residents interviewed for a news report after the survey results were released provided mixed opinions regarding the area’s traffic camera program.  Many of the residents interviewed viewed the program as a way to generate money for the City.  Others questioned their accuracy and expressed concern that using machines eliminated an officer’s discretion not to issue a citation in particular circumstances.

But City residents do agree that traffic cameras make roadways safer.  Several residents admitted that they drive slower and with more caution after having received a traffic camera citation in the mail.

Residents tend to be more supportive of red light cameras.  This is due to the fact that violations are more predictable.  In addition, right angle, or t-bone crashes are the deadliest type of collision and can be avoided if drivers stop at red lights.  However, critics also point out that red-light cameras penalize drivers for minor offenses, such as failing to come to a complete stop.

D.C. is one of 125 jurisdictions in the country to implement a traffic camera program.  Nearby Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland also have similar programs in place.  In Virginia, state law prohibits the use of speed cameras.  However, red-light cameras are utilized by law enforcement in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and the city of Fairfax.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a traffic accident, you should contact an attorney immediately.

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