Opinions on red-light cameras vary, study says

A bank of cameras at S. Walker and Duke Streets will be flipped on Friday morning. (Photo by Gail Huff/WJLA)

A new study released Thursday shows just how many people in Washington actually like red-light cameras, and the number may be higher than you think.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety asked drivers in 14 big cities with longstanding red-light camera programs how they felt about the cameras.

In D.C., 78 percent of drivers say they support the program - that’s the highest percentage of any city polled.

Cameras set to go up in Virginia this Friday will record video to refute claims the camera wasn't working properly. They can also capture drivers making a rolling right turn on a red light.

“It slows traffic down and saves lives in the process,” said Potomac Green resident Abdul Alvani.

“Sometimes I feel it's an invasion of privacy. But it did make me stop speeding so it has pluses and minuses,” said Pat Jones of Alexandria.

The new study comes after a previous IIHS study, which argued that red-light cameras are making roads safer. That previous study, released in February, showed that cameras have reduced the rate of fatal red-light running crashes by 24 percent in these same 14 cities.

The survey also found that nearly 50 percent know someone who has gotten a ticket from a red light, which is a serious threat to safety. Two-thirds of those polled say they favor red-light cameras, and 17 percent have gotten one themselves.

Of those who opposed red-light cameras, the largest percentage said they do because they make mistakes and they believe they are about making money for cities, not safety.

New cameras to go up this weekend

This survey may seem pretty timely for our area as several new red-light cameras are set to go live at intersections in the cities of Fairfax and Alexandria on Friday.

Two intersections in Fairfax County will being camera monitoring, one in Fairfax Circle, the other at University Drive and North Street.

In Alexandria City, new cameras start rolling at three intersections. South Patrick at Gibbon Street, one block south from there Patrick at Franklin, and at Duke and South Walker.

“I wish people would be more willing to slow down at yellow lights and not speed up.. Red is red,” said Katya Wanzer of Alexandria.

The first 30 days will mark a grace period in Fairfax City and Alexandria. After that, tickets for blowing through a red light are $50.

While offenders won't get a DVD in the mail, they will receive a PIN number and directions to go online and see the photo and videotape evidence.

View the study released Thursday:

Read a previous IIHS study, released in Feburary:

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