Poll of New York City voters shows motorists even support more automatic traffic enforcement

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Motorists slamming on their brakes at the sight of a speed camera seems to be no indication of bias against the use of automated enforcement in terms of making streets safer, a new poll claims.

Up 78% of all New York City voters, and 73% of motorists polled among them in the poll, said they support the use of automated enforcement methods rather than having cops stationed in corridors to catch those breaking traffic laws, according to the survey by Transportation Alternatives.

“By investing in automated enforcement and street design, New York City can become a global leader in street safety.  Now is the time to double down on proven measures that keep our residents safe and reduce racial bias and armed police involvement. ” Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, said. “This new polling should be a wake up call for those running for mayor that automated enforcement not only works, but has broad support from voters and must be expanded further to help us reach Vision Zero.” 

The newly gauged support for speed cameras and other forms of surveillance that capture people running red lights, blocking bus lanes, bike lanes or crosswalks, shows an increase from a similar poll taken by the organization in 2016 which indicated 60% support among motorists.

This new data was collected by the Siena College Research Institute up until the end of 2020, according to Transportation Alternatives, and raised the question of whether or not automated enforcement should expand beyond school zones in New York City which are regulated by the state.

“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC, and Families for Safe Streets members have been at the forefront of the fight to secure and expand speed safety cameras in New York City,” Families for Safe Streets Member Dana Lerner, mother of Cooper Stock, said. “Automated enforcement curbs speeding, saves lives, and is much more fair than the traditional approach of police. While speed safety cameras have reduced fatalities and crashes, the very large majority of New York City children live outside of school zones, where no safety cameras are permitted to operate. We will fight to expand the speed safety program this year, and with public opinion on our side, we believe the time is right to begin using automated enforcement in additional ways to curb reckless drivers.” 

In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would be seeking approval from Albany legislators to expand the hours that speed cameras around schools are allowed to operate to 24/7 in order to address rampant speeding throughout 2020.

In fact, lawmakers representing New York City neighborhoods heavily affected by pedestrian fatalities were faced with an uphill battle in getting colleagues back to the chamber to fund the school zone speed camera program already in place.

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