The number of red-light cameras nationwide is falling because of opposition from lawmakers and average Joes but the use of cameras to catch speeders is slowly rising, potentially signaling a new battleground, the Associated Press reports. The number of U.S. communities using red-light cameras is down 13 percent, to 469, since the end of 2012, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That includes the 24 towns in New Jersey that participated in a pilot program that ended this month.
Meanwhile, the institute estimates that 137 communities use speed cameras, up from 115 at the end of 2011. Advocates for cameras that catch red-light runners point to data showing they reduce accidents. Critics say they can’t distinguish between, say, a red-light run during rush hour in a school zone and a technically illegal right turn on a red light at 3 a.m. Speeding is a bit more black and white when it comes to cameras. New Jersey’s red-light program had problems, including a yellow-light timing controversy that caused the cameras to be shut down temporarily; a computer glitch that voided thousands of tickets; and a lawsuit by one resident that led to refunds for hundreds of thousands of motorists.