Traffic cameras are a popular law enforcement tool: 541 communities across the USA have red-light cameras, and more than 95 have speeding cameras, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which supports cameras.
The traffic cameras incite strong feelings on both sides. Houston and Los Angeles acted to remove their cameras in recent weeks, while Tampa added them.
As cameras have multiplied, so have crime-fighting opportunities, says David Kelly, head of the National Coalition for Safer Roads, a group funded by the photo enforcement industry. "The more cameras that are out there, the more opportunities there are to do things like get drunk drivers, get folks going through intersections where we know there's been a home invasion, or help out with AMBER Alerts," he says.
That doesn't sway traffic-camera opponents such as the National Motorists Association. "The effect it has on personal rights to due process, I think that outweighs any potential benefits," Executive Director Gary Biller says.