Is It Time to Stop Green-Lighting Red-Light Cameras?

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The number of local red-light camera contracts awarded around the country has exploded, from 155 in 2005 to 689 last year. The pitch to install the cameras is that it’s a win-win for municipalities, simultaneously saving them money while making intersections safer. But as red-light cameras spread, so does the skepticism.

For more than a year now, grassroots groups around the country have been trying to get red-light cameras removed from intersections, or to at least stop towns and counties from expanding red-light programs. This isn’t just a bunch of drivers annoyed that they got tickets either. The worst accusations claim that the cameras might, in fact, increase the number of accidents at traffic lights—read-end collisions in particular—and that the systems for awarding contracts and handing out tickets are corrupt to the core.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that in June the city will be dropping its contract with Redflex, a Phoenix-based firm that operates 384 cameras in the city, due to what the Chicago Tribune described as “a $2 million bribery scheme involving the former Chicago official who oversaw the red light program for a decade.” Four Redflex executives resigned as a result of the scandal.

(MORE: When the Experts Hate a Car and It Sells Well Anyway)

Despite the controversy, the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this month that Redflex is currently the frontrunner to be awarded a contract to operate red-light cameras in Orange County, Fla., which is seeking a $16 million expansion of its red-light program.

Putting aside the questionable manner in which cities and counties hand out red-light contracts, the larger issue is whether or not the traffic tickets generated by these cameras are fair, and whether or not the cameras actually make intersections safer. Consumer advocates have questions on both fronts, claiming that the cameras are installed for the sake of easy revenues, not better driver safety.

Drivers in California have been particularly angry about the red-light programs, which are known to dish out tickets for as much as $480 a pop.

That might be deemed a reasonable cost if the cameras were clearly improving safety. But do they? Last fall, a study by the New Jersey Department of Transportation revealed that accidents actually increased at intersections where the cameras were installed, apparently in large part because drivers had a tendency to brake hard at lights in order to avoid being captured on camera rolling through a “yellow-red” signal. According to the Star-Ledger:

Rear-end collisions at the intersections were up by 20 percent, from 286 the year before the cameras were installed to 343 the year after, according to the report made public yesterday. Overall, accidents increased from 577 crashes the year before the cameras were installed to 582 the year after.

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Nearly 500,000 drivers who received tickets via red-light cameras in New Jersey are now eligible for tiny refunds (a measly $6, after lawyers’ fees), thanks to a class-action lawsuit involving lights turned from yellow to red too quickly. The issue of too-short yellow lights isn’t limited to New Jersey. At the end of 2012, Collier County, Fla., voted to end its contract with a red-light camera company amid accusations of shortened yellow lights. The Naples News reported that in a recent hearing a Florida Highway patrol officer told commissioners that there was no change in the number of traffic crashes before and after the cameras were installed in Collier County, and that adjusting the timing of yellow lights would make the ticket system fairer.

A Wall Street Journal columnist recently focused on longer yellow lights—rather than more red-light cameras—as a means of making intersections safer:

Virtually all now understand that the best way to decrease crashes at problem intersections is a longer yellow. In Tampa, hundreds appear to have received tickets because a busy yellow was set at three seconds when the state minimum is 4.5. In Georgia, after a new state law adding a second to the yellow, several towns canceled their camera programs as no longer profitable.

Is that what these programs are really about? Being profitable? Not at all, defenders of the programs say. In a USA Today citing data indicating that there was a 24% decrease in accidents at Philadelphia intersections with red-light cameras, one expert said the following:

“Red-light cameras are a proven, effective enforcement tool, and they’re making intersections safer,” says Anne McCartt, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “It’s human behavior 101: When drivers know there’s a high likelihood of a ticket, they’re less likely to run red lights.”

(MORE: Big Brother Backlash: Citizens Unite to Bring Down Ticket-Generating Red-Light Cameras)

Drivers are also probably more likely to slam on the brakes when they see a video camera posted at a traffic light, especially if they know the light barely stays yellow before turning to red. And the cars behind the vehicles screeching to a halt aren’t likely to think this system makes intersections safer.

48 comments
woodguy99
woodguy99

If it was really about saving lives, how about leaving the other traffic light in red for an extra second. That would impede the cross traffic from moving.

MaskMyTicket
MaskMyTicket

I believe that they cause more accidents than preventing people from running red lights. I don't know how many times I have been behind someone and they lock up their brakes when they are approaching an intersection with cameras. Most often they would have had plenty of time to clear the intersection in time. In some cases I have had to swerve around them and I still had time to clear the intersection before it turned red. I own an online a traffic school and red light camera tickets are a decent percentage of the total volume of tickets in the counties that employ them.

BruceThompson
BruceThompson

Yellow cycle is down from 2.5 sec to 0.7 on most camera equipped intersections.  Driving 5-10 under, I cannot stop in time without sliding.  ABS usually kicks in on cars but I have a service truck. 

LynnAutumn
LynnAutumn

Not everyone who objects to the red light cameras has been ticketed.  I haven't!  But they are costing us $10,000 per month, per camera, or per intersection, and they are NOT being shown to significantly reduce collisions or city revenue from the grossly expensive tickets.  Further, the yellow lights for the left hand turn lanes are shorter than normal, so someone, in effect, is caught in a trap, fooled into thinking he or she would have time to turn left, or at least to be within the intersection before the light changes to red.

Jmarch313
Jmarch313

If you run a red light, you ARE guilty, period! These objectors are for the most part people who were caught breaking the law, or people who do not want to get caught in the act! Photos do NOT lie! There are so many red light runners in Texas that I have to count to 5 before I feel comfortable to pull into the intersection!

lam6116
lam6116

If the purpose is to prevent accidents then they need to install more traffic lights that actually count down the number of seconds left before the light changes. As I approach an intersection and I see that there are three or four second left for the light change, I automatically start to slow down preparing to stop. This combination of the traffic light and the pedestrian signs that count down the light change I'm sure has prevented more accidents than red light cameras in NYC.

PhotoEnforced
PhotoEnforced

There are a lot more camera contracts than stated in this article.  See photoenforced.com for details.com  

StephenDonaldson
StephenDonaldson

http://www.banthecams.org/Studies-Show/red-light-cameras-effect-on-accidents-is-debatable.html  (or http://www.philly.com/philly/news/132503968.html)

"The cameras were intended to reduce accidents and save lives, and officials at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which runs the red-light camera program, say that goal has been met.
They dispute the police numbers, citing their own analysis showing accidents down at most red-light intersections.
 

According to police data, there were 1,982 accidents in the periods measured after the cameras were installed, compared with 1,765 during the same-length periods before cameras.


The number of fatal accidents decreased by one, from nine to eight, with the cameras, the data show."

see other scams played to hide the fact that RLC CAUSED MORE WRECKS!  http://www.banthecams.org/1946-six-examples-of-misleading-the-public-safety-claims-by-towns-who-use-ats.html

www.motorists.org

www.banthecams.org

camerafraud on Facebook

Denesius
Denesius

I'd like to see the actual statistics that are used to argue against the red light cameras. I don't doubt the corruption & mistaken tag stories, but I think the accident data needs clarification. For example, the quoted increase in accidents due to rear end collisions- one would think the idea is to reduce injuries & fatalities. I'd rather get rear ended by someone trying to stop than t-boned by some idiot accelerating to get thru the intersection. 

PaulHenry
PaulHenry

As a retied 25 year Florida law enforcement officer that worked as a trooper, traffic homicide investigator, and squad sergeant overseeing the traffic homicide program, I have a good deal of experience with traffic crashes, notably fatal crashes.

The huge majority of red light violation crashes are caused by one of two types of drivers- distracted or drunk. No automated for-profit device will prevent or reduce these crashes- something I've proven by using DOT crash data for several cities here in Florida. Google my "red light camera reference page" to read the reports and see the crash data. Unlike any city in Florida, I publish actual crash numbers. I took this upon myself after reading news story after news story that never revealed the actual crash numbers for crashes caused by red light violations. If you doubt the above, then also please look at the videos posted online by the camera companies- crashes caught by the devices placed to prevent them.

The entire red light camera program is a scheme to make a profit (for the camera company and the local/state government) from law enforcement. As shown with Redflex, it is a corrupting influence when you have millions of dollars involved. Vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has given Florida politicians over $400,000 between 2008 and 2012. There is so much money involved that the camera companies no longer use lobbyists- there are so many government and quasi-government lobbyists that camera company lobbyists are not needed. Bills dealing with red light cameras now go to financial committees instead of transportation committees.

The scheme involves subverting our American system of justice so as to steer vehicle owners into paying fines. This is done by camera companies writing laws that make owners guilty until proven innocent, denying them a court hearing, and preventing anyone from being in court to validate evidence- which the for-profit company sees before local police do.

Automated for-profit law enforcement is a bad idea, and it is un-American.

thesauros
thesauros

the only way these cameras cause accidents is if the person is tailgating someone who was going to run the yellow and changed h/her mind. 

yellow2
yellow2

I got a ticket in the mail last summer for going through a red light. 

Problem was, although the typed in license plate number was mine on the ticket and the car was definitely registered to me, the car in the photo was not mine. In fact, the statement said, yellow toyota mr2 which was me but the car in the photo was a black ford explorer.

So, I jumped online and logged into the City red light photo website and zoomed in on the photo. A small pile of snow covered the last letter on the explorers plate that made an "E" look like an "F". 

I found it amusing that the ticket went on to explain how great care had gone into each ticket to make sure that the right owner was sent the bill for running a light. Not only had they NOT noticed that my car wasnt a Ford, when the bill said Toyota but they also neglected to see that it was black and NOT yellow like the car registered to me. Talk about lazy.

Thankfully, I was able to call them and explain my case without a lot of problems and sure enough, when they actually looked at the plate, the called the DMV who confirmed what I already knew. It wasnt me. Still, wasted a few hours of my time.

BillPope
BillPope

It's all about revenue as are parking tickets and artificially low speed zones.  A good friend of mine is a city planner and confirmed this.  Also do you really want to sanction more cameras monitoring your actions?

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

LittleDog is correct.  If yellows were correct followed by a proper all-red based on intersection width to clear the intersection, and cameras then ticketed drivers entering after the all red was done - cameras would be ticketing only the unsafe drivers who deserve tickets.

The problem with this all-safety approach is that cameras are VERY expensive. Most are leased today at $4,000 to $5,000 per month per camera.  if cameras ticketed only the tiny number of unsafe drivers after the all-red phase, they would lose a fortune for the city, and no city will use cameras for any length of time at a big loss.

Red light cameras are for-profit business partnerships between camera companies and governments that are deliberately designed to ticket mostly safe drivers for profits.  They almost never improve safety by more than simply using safer, longer yellows and often actually reduce safety.  The business partners don't care the cameras are a fraud for safety, as long as the money rolls in massively.

James C. Walker, Life Member - National Motorists Association, Executive Director - National Motorists Association Foundation

LittleDog
LittleDog

Let no one fool you.  These programs are all about the money -- most of which goes to the private companies administering them.  The private companies even "suggest" to the municipalities that they reduce yellow light times so as to increase ticket revenue. 

I admit that red light cameras, if used properly, could help reduce collisions.  Have a proper length yellow, followed by a 1-2 second "all red", and ticket after the "all red" is done.  That will ticket the people who actually put others in harm's way.  However, the way the red light cameras are sold and administered costs safety in the name of revenue. 

mtngoatjoe
mtngoatjoe

What we really need is to have a warning system in the car that alerts drivers that a light is about to turn red. We have the technology available, and it should be easy to warn a distracted driver that they are going to run a red light.


I imagine a three tiered system that says (indicates) that at the driver's current speed, they will:

1) Safely make it through the intersection.

2) Stop. The light will turn red before clearing the intersection.

3) STOP!!! You are about to run a red light!!!


At least something along those lines anyway. The technology would be easy, and I don't believe it would be all that expensive.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

This is a fine article.  Here are the facts, documented on our website by unbiased researchers.

1 Cameras often raise accident rates.  2 One second longer yellows reduce violations by 60% to 90% immediately.  3 Drivers do NOT adapt to longer yellows, violations stay down over time - with or without cameras in place.  4 Some systems ticket slow rolling right on red turns but federal data shows right on red causes only 0.4% of crashes and only 0.06% of crashes with injuries or fatalities - so tickets for right on red are 99.6% to 99.94% about money, not safety. Tennessee banned this unfair practice. 5) Almost all camera tickets are for violations under one second.  Almost every engineer uses a one to three second all red phase, so drivers who violate the red by up to 0.9 seconds clear the intersections before cross traffic drivers get a green light, have time to react, and move into the intersection.  Split second violators present zero crash risks.  6 Most dangerous t-bone crashes are caused by drivers who enter after this lights are red for at least two and usually by five to nine or more seconds.  Most of these drivers are NOT affected by red light cameras because they are DUI, medically impaired, heavily distracted, failed to see emergency vehicles, etc.  Cameras do not prevent these crashes. 7 In short, cameras are sold on false promises of safety, but the true purpose is to collect millions of dollars that come mostly from safe drivers making technical fouls that do not cause safety hazards. 8 Cities make money but also send millions of dollars to out of state camera vendors and sometimes large proportions of fines to state capitals (52.5% in Florida).  This badly damages local economies by taking away dollars that should be spent locally to aid businesses and local employment.

Red light cameras are for-profit business partnerships between camera companies and governments that depend upon deliberately improper engineering and ticketing mostly safe drivers. They are NOT safety programs.

James C. Walker, Life Member - National Motorists Association, Executive Director - National Motorists Association Foundation


gfargo
gfargo

There is a simple and effective solution that can be universally applied at very little cost. It's not lengthening the yellow, which drivers will become conditioned to. The solution is to lengthen the "all red" condition. Traffic engineers will understand this term but it is the time before the light turns green after the cross light turning red. To understand this, imagine that the green light turns yellow, then red. Then the cross light doesn't turn green for a full minute. Collisions would be virtually eliminated. Of course a full minute is ridiculous, but my experience is that this interval is usually less than a second. So increase it to 2 seconds or 4 or whatever the experts come up with. All this takes is reprogramming the lights and can be applied to every light, all 4 directions, in every traffic light in the country.

Onepatriot
Onepatriot

I like red lite cameras at busy intersections.   But I do agree the fine should be more evenly meted out.  You're right Sam.

That said, too many drivers speed around our busy streets and parking lots.  Lower the speed limit and enforce it. 

SamDicker
SamDicker

Here's a simple tech solution to the problem: Make the fine proportional to how late after the red the driver entered the intersection, the way most states and municipalities deal with speeding tickets. If drivers know that just missing the light could only result in a small fine, they wouldn't panic stop so it would reduce rear end collisions while still deterring drivers that completely ignore the red lights.

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

Should we stop giving tickets for running red lights?  If a cop is near the intersection, by the same logic, rear end accidents should rise.

Red light cameras are a good idea. Adjust them to give drivers a second or two more. Cities should lower the price for getting a ticket.

Contracts shouldn't be tied to how many tickets are issued.

callen34
callen34

It is all about the revenue. If it is not, then the cities should be required to donate their red light camera proceeds to charity.

ViableOp
ViableOp

Unfortunately, many municipalities in both Canada and the United States are using these and other revenue-raising tactics to balance their overspending habits.

SSLA
SSLA

@Jmarch313 This statement shows that you don't understand the science behind how traffic lights are timed and how they are supposed to be timed.  If there are an excessive amount of red light runners, then the signal is mistimed.  Increasing the yellow time will eliminate that problem.  An before you claim that people will adjust and simply run the red anyway, studies show that doesn't happen.  In Fremont California CalTrans increased the yellow time by 0.7 second and violations dropped more than 78% overnight and have remained at the lower rate for over 2 years.  You are not guilty if you run a red light, period; not if the yellow light was too short to allow you to stop appropriately.

SSLA
SSLA

@Denesius You are not going to get T-boned by some idiot accelerating to get through the intersection, not if the signal is timed properly with a sufficient yellow and all-red phase.  Think about it for a second.  If someone accelerates to make it through, even if they are wrong and miss the end of the yellow and enter on red, they will do so only a fraction of a second after the light turns red.  All the data from the cameras show this is where the vast majority of violations are.  Now if there is an all-red delay for the cross traffic of 2 seconds, that "idiot" will be most, if not all, of the way through the intersection before you get a green light.  With this two seconds of red plus any start up delay you have starting from a stop, it's virtually impossible for you to be T-boned by this person.

But you also have to ask why this person sped up.  It's because, by setting the yellow time too low, we've trained people that sometimes they have to speed up to make it into the intersection before the light changes to red or jam on their brakes to stop in time.  In such a situation, sometime the best choice is to speed up and go through rather than risk a rear end collision, especially if you expect that the traffic engineer has timed in a proper all-red phase like they are supposed to do.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Denesius    Go to the website of the National Motorists Association and read all the studies and research and articles under the red light cameras link.  Then note that almost all red light camera tickets are for violations of less than one second.  Virtually every city uses a one to three second all-red phase, so drivers who get tickets for 0.9 seconds into the red clear the intersection before the cross traffic gets a green light and has the one or two seconds it takes to start moving and enter the intersection box.  The vast percentage of drivers who get red light camera tickets present zero risk of causing t-bone crashes.  Almost all dangerous t-bone crashes happen when drivers  violate the red by at least two and usually five to nine or more seconds.  Cameras make money but do not have much effect on the distracted, drunk, medically-impaired, fleeing police, etc. drivers.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

Jmarch313
Jmarch313

@thesauros yes, exactly!!! Why can't some people understand this!

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@yellow2   A couple of years ago Baltimore sent out about 2,000 speed camera tickets that were "carefully reviewed for accuracy" and signed as a real violation by an officer who was DEAD by the time of the tickets.

Speed and red light cameras are for-profit business partnerships between camera companies and cities that just want money by any means possible. Any relationship with safety is purely coincidental - and sometimes negative.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

PaulHenry
PaulHenry

@yellow2
You are not alone. Here in Florida, a common idea by camera proponents is "just don't run the light" and you won't get a ticket.

We've had numerous vehicle owners ticketed that did not run lights- everything from a copied tag (and the 79 year old owner was wrongly convicted) to a situation like yours in a city 300 miles away. The one letter tag mistake caused a GMC pickup owner to lose his license- a Mercedes ran the light in the other city.

One consistent thing is how the city will refuse to dismiss these tickets even when the proof is on video and documented on paper. Each of the above had to go to the media to get relief, and of course the 79 year old owner got no relief- just a $264 fine.

Jmarch313
Jmarch313

@BillPope Just don't run the light!

PaulHenry
PaulHenry

@mtngoatjoe 
I would not be surprised to see a federal mandate for this in the near future. With "city safety" automatic braking to prevent rear-end crashes, lane stability to prevent lane departures, and now with Google testing driverless cars, we should all be really safe! That is until one of the systems "blue screens" and does the opposite of what it's supposed to do.

As for me, I'll stick to my 30 year old Suzuki GS1000 that has none of the above. The government cannot protect us from every harmful thing that comes our way- notably the self-inflicted ones.

rlequerica
rlequerica

@JamesWalker1

Do democracies deserve their rulers? And to be confined to the laws their own system creates?

All America is a for profit society according to the opinion of most Global citizens; this are own imposed life consequences.

US traffic laws are not different to US family laws and most US laws; law makers tend to benefit the law enforcers, and the Judicial system (let’s not talk about  all government armed groups ) more than benefit the ordinary US citizen. And whoever falls in prison or any other fine or condemn form, would easier die than fight the system, the system has the billions and the years to endure that no ordinary citizen have.

If entrepreneurs were allowed to start their own court house....wow they will become billionaires...maybe that is what camera companies have found out. !!! Any traffic school, anger management and all court mandate courses are a profitable industry, not to say the prisons, where prisoners must pay daily as in a hotel, and thousands of companies build their factories besides the prison to hire low wage workers that are induced to stay longer in prison due to the intern rules that benefit the industry instead of rehabilitate the prisoner.....

Few ways to change traffic laws and regulations in a for profit society: Destroy the profits or create competitors:

1.Reduce the fines dividing them by 10, every citizen will vote for that as the Pilgrims did running from the European Kingdoms….remember history ?? If you forgot, then you will have to relearn living it over again…those times law makers and financial beneficiaries where commingled as today.

2.Redirect 90% to schools or Hospitals or Social Security… you name any broken public institution, away from law enforcement, judicial, or lawmaking bodies.

3.Make Public Institutions compete for a portion of those funds, offering to do it for less…competition…

If you continue fighting on the extra second of the yellow, or the all red time, or any technical issue…the camera lobbies and their commingled partners lawmakers, lawenforcers and lawjudges will continue rolling you over and over in their game !!

Sneeje
Sneeje

@gfargo Actually, unless you have research to the contrary, there is a great deal of research behind lengthening the yellow and all of it shows that drivers do not acclimate or adapt to the yellow such that benefits disappear.  It would be great if we could stop ignoring all of the great research in these areas and going with our gut or "intuition".

PaulHenry
PaulHenry

@Onepatriot
I find it odd someone with the word "patriot" in their username supports automated for-profit law enforcement. Do you understand these tickets:
1. Make the owner guilty until they ID another or provide an "excuse"? The burden of proof is upon them, not the government. This is contrary to our 5th Amendment.
2. Do not allow a court hearing from the mailed ticket? Again, contrary to the 5th and also the 14th Amendment right to due process.
3. Do not require anyone from the for-profit company to be in court to validate the evidence- which they have access to (and millions of reason$ for misconduct) before your local police see it? This is contrary to the 6th Amendment.
4. Have a dual fine schedule- automated tickets are much less than officer-issued tickets. This is contrary to the 8th Amendment.

The above is all part of the scheme created by turning law enforcement into a for-profit scheme. The idea is to make it difficult to go to court, so vehicle owners will just pay the fine.

Automated for-profit law enforcement is a bad idea, and it is un-American.


SSLA
SSLA

@SamDicker That assumes that these early into red violations are intentional; many are not.  If you simply lengthen the yellow by about a second or so you eliminate the vast majority of these violations and they never come back.

PaulHenry
PaulHenry

@JohnDavidDeatherage 
Automated for-profit law enforcement is a great idea if you want to make millions of dollars by passing laws to make Americans guilty until proven innocent, deny them court hearings, and prevent anyone from having to authenticate evidence. In short, this is done by turning law enforcement into a for-profit scheme that steers vehicle owners into paying fines.

By doing what you suggested int he second paragraph (yellow light timing), no camera company in Georgia could make enough to remain profitable. The roads were safer, and no one had their rights violated.

A bill to lower the cost of the tickets here in Florida (as well as begin to properly time yellow lights) was just torpedoed by a Senator that has taken $1,000 from a camera company in a little over 1 year's time.

To answer your initial question, no- but we must be sure of who we are ticketing- that is due process the American way. Our founders rejected the idea of having to prove your innocence in court- something the camera companies bank on when they write the laws that make them millions.

BrianCeccarelli
BrianCeccarelli

The North Carolina Constitution requires that 90% of revenue of any penal fines go to the public schools.    But that did not stop RedFlex from coming in midsteam and most likely bribe legislators to change the defintion of "clear proceeds" by subtracting out the amount of money "as required by the lease of the equipment."    Wake County operates its red light cameras under this new definition.     While Wake County cities get only 5 - 10% of the haul, they still operate the cameras, not because of profitability, but either because the city does not want to lose face with the public (the city is a shill) or that someone in the government is being bribed.

All cities outside Wake County with the exception of Wilmington removed their red light cameras years ago after the judgment rendered in Shavitz vs City of Highpoint.   The judge ruled all the cities must hand over 90% of their gross proceeds to the schools. 

Wilmington, a city outside of Wake County, operates under a 1 million deficit each year--money laundering from the city coffers to supply the schools with the Constitution's required funds.    Again, ATS is most likely paying somebody off. 

SSLA
SSLA

@Jmarch313 Because it's not true.  Due to momentum, you need a certain amount of time to stop your vehicle.  It doesn't require you to be tailgating to end up rear ending someone who jams on their brakes.  There's an entire insurance scam predicated on this fact where the scammer slams on their brakes in order to cause a rear end collision.  If it's possible to do it intentionally, it's possible for it to happen unintentionally too.

MaryMitch
MaryMitch

@harbin, maybe you can present some statistics or ACTUAL DATA to contradict JamesWalker1? Your comment adds no value to the conversation.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Harbin@JamesWalker1  85th percentile posted speed limits and traffic lights timed to those actual approach speeds are the correct science, per the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and virtually every unbiased researcher in the field.  Note that "unbiased" in this context means research done by groups with no direct or indirect financial link to the revenue stream from traffic tickets.  This excludes the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety whose member companies have a direct financial benefit from traffic tickets.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@rickey1704 @JamesWalker1    Thanks.  Maybe you would consider joining us and being actively involved with trying to end the predatory abuses of improper traffic laws for revenue.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

gfargo
gfargo

No, I don't have research and I am not an expert. I engaged in a discussion like this some months ago with some authors of a research study and was informed that longer yellows were not effective. When I suggested longer "all reds", no one came up with a negative except delaying traffic for a few seconds, which is also a negative of longer yellows. It just seems to me that drivers are always playing the game of "can I beat the yellow", so if the yellow light is of a reasonable normal length, then increasing the all red interval will allow the "split second" violaters mentioned above to clear the intersection. And I have to say that Walker's statement of 1-3 seconds being used is highly suspect. I have never seen an "all red" exceed one second. So, bottom line is that I agree longer yellows would help, but I think longer "all reds" would be more effective.