Poll: 72% of Floridians support red-light cameras

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In 2010, Florida joined the national movement of nearly 30 states by enacting the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, Florida’s red light safety camera program. Now, two years later, on the heels of proven, life saving success, Floridian support of the safety cameras laws is at 72%, reflecting unprecedented confidence in its road and community safety benefits. Conducted by the respected national research firm, FrederickPolls, this recent, statistically relevant survey of Floridian voters is consistent with the polling conducted by the St. Petersburg Times in late 2011.

Perhaps most encouraging to road safety advocates: When asked specifically and even after hearing arguments critical of the safety cameras, 67% of Floridians still want to KEEP the red light safety laws in place.  And, this broad, majority confidence crosses all regions, party, age, ethnicity, and philosophical subgroups of the Florida electorate.

“People from Jacksonville to Miami and all points in between, regardless of political party affiliation, know that red light safety cameras prevent injuries and deaths and make intersections safer,” said David Kelly, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Safer Roads. “And as these programs evolve, people are seeing real life-saving results.”

For example, several cities across Florida, from Apopka to North Miami and Miami Gardens, have seen more than a 60% drop in crashes after installing safety cameras. In Temple Terrace, Florida, they experienced a 67% drop in red light running accidents. In Orlando, during its inaugural year of the program, rear end collisions dropped 20%, and there were no fatalities.

Of course, Florida law enforcement has been a long time advocate of red light programs as instrumental elements in statewide transportation safety. Hillsborough County is yet another example of what has been occurring across Florida. Hillsborough County Sheriff, David Gee, saw red light running become an epidemic in the county, pointing to more than 800 crashes and three fatalities in just a two year period.  Currently and in tandem with implementation of its red light safety camera program, Hillsborough County has experienced an overall reduction in crashes with injuries at 10 intersections where the cameras were placed.

“I think Floridian support of safety cameras is also bolstered by the recognition that safety cameras offer critical assistance to law enforcement in keeping the broader community even safer,” said Sheriff David Gee, Hillsborough County.    

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.