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Cities Caught Illegally Tampering With Traffic Lights To Increase Revenue Of Red Light Cameras

 
Quote:

Just last month there was the latest in a rather long line of reports noting that red light cameras tend to increase the number of accidents because people slam on their brakes to stop in time, leading to rear-ending accidents. Time and time again studies have shown that if cities really wanted to make traffic crossings safer there's a very simple way to do so: increase the length of the yellow light and make sure there's a pause before the cross traffic light turns green (this is done in some places, but not in many others). Tragically, it looks like some cities are doing the opposite! Jeff Nolan points out that six US cities have been caught decreasing the length of the yellow light below the legal limits in an effort to catch more drivers running red lights and increasing revenue. This is especially disgusting. These cities are actively putting more people in danger of serious injury or death solely for the sake of raising revenue -- while claiming all along that it's for safety purposes. Is it any surprise that one of the six cities is Dallas? Remember, just last month Dallas decided it wasn't going to install any more red light cameras because fewer tickets had hurt city revenue.

original article(s) at: http://www.leftlanenews.com/six-us-cities-tamper-with-traffi...
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080313/231629539.shtml
and http://techdirt.com/articles/20080410/011257809.shtml

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TomTom One XLS * Contact me about 1200 free print credits *
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Cities tampering

One of the cities is in California, Union City.

In California the minimum yellow light time under the law is 3 seconds as far as I know, but the article from

http://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras/6-cities-tha...

says the minimum is 4.3 seconds. I'm gonna have to do some research on that.

I think the law should be changed so 100% of the money from automated enforcement systems goes in the state general fund, but the state cannot pay for any operations of any automated enforcement systems.

Then cities could install and pay for them but would have no incentive to cause any more tickets to be issued, since they get none of the money.

They would have completely clean hands. Instead of the dirty ones they have now.

Short cycling yellow lights

I live in the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex and I think that there may have been a mistake in the original story. North Richland Hills, which is just to the East of Dallas, was taken to task by local media for short cycling the yellow light at intersections where red-light cameras were placed.

Dallas however, is being chastised by the state legislature for allowing the company who operates its red-light enforcement cameras to report violators to credit agencies. The state of Texas claims they passed legislature to prohibit such a policy and the city of Dallas claims a grandfather exemption from such a law.

Note: One of the local news station has reported that the state of Texas has a standard of 3.6 to 3.9 seconds for the yellow light to be displayed, and claims to have studies that show that when this time is reduced to 2.9 seconds, traffic accidents increase by 215%.

--
Oldrivers http://www.oldrivers.blogspot.com

Peoria AZ has the same problem

The Yellow left turn arrow at 83rd ave and Union Hills southbound is less than 3 seconds,I timed it at about 2.5 seconds. It used to be longer, then goes directly to Red,cameras rolling. Its funny, (But not really) traffic in the westbound direction, SAME intersection, has a longer yellow left turn arrow, then goes to a green light. go figure... no uniformity of any kind even at the same intersection.
Its all about the money.

--
Garmin:GPSMAP196, Nuvi 670,Nuvi 755T

Power of Money

I think its funny that all the politicians talk about is safety this and safety that. But as soon as budget talks come up, they site astronomical increases in funds raised through these cameras as further justification to keep them. I'm just waiting for them to tell us we are better off with them because it will keep them from having to raise taxes!

Bite your tongue.

bacothren wrote:

I'm just waiting for them to tell us we are better off with them because it will keep them from having to raise taxes!

Bite your tongue. Do you want to give those miscreants ideas?

Oh well, you know what I think. It's right above.

Red Light Cameras

Everybody; And I mean everybody; give your head a shake! Drive and pay attention to what is happening in front of you and you won't have to slam on your brakes. Simple. Three seconds is plenty of time; unless your on your cell phone or picking your nose! If someone runs into the back of you; then guess what; they weren't paying attention. A rear ender is a lot less serious that than a T-bone. Mind you; I could be wrong. You decide next time you come to a intersection with a "Short" yellow light!

--
"Old and Grumpy" and proud of it!

Its funny is a stupid kind

Its funny is a stupid kind of way. I pass thru a red light camera here twice a day (one of the first up in the area).. I found more speed thru the light to get thru it before it has a chance to turn Yellow. I also notice that I react differently to this intersection then I do most, and the silly thing is I don't run thru Red Lights as a norm.. so I myself find it interesting that I react differently at this one intersection.

In our area I find more people speeding up thru the intersection then slamming on their brakes... The local cops could have a a hay day with their radar gun on the other side of the light.. sad

Odd.

--
aVOL2 - Julie

Red Light Cameras

Here in Calgary; Alberta; Canada; Radar is the next step; as it will be added to all 42 red light camera's function.

--
"Old and Grumpy" and proud of it!

A friend of mine told me

A friend of mine told me that Long Beach, CA had this issue a number of years back, and was forced to "un-ticket" people after it came to light and refund money they paid in fines. I think it's bad when they try to time lights to make people miss them thinking that stopping or going slow is better. It just causes more pollution, time wasted in traffic, and annoyances.

I thought I was imagining

I thought I was imagining that the yellow light timing was alway shorter in the red light cameras in few cities surrounding Atlanta!!!

Here is another article posted on yahoo.com

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080413-red-light-came...

3 seconds is sometimes long enough and sometimes not

It depends on the speed limit coming into the intersection, and if its a turn lane, how long that turn lane is. One thing I DO know is 2 1/2 seconds is to short no matter what speed you are going.

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Garmin:GPSMAP196, Nuvi 670,Nuvi 755T

Short yellow light

I would appreciate honesty by the cities and cops. Why don't they put a cop at every intersection with a gun and have them rob us at the gunpoint? At least they would not say that this is for safety purposes, and the slowdown would decrease accidents, wouldn't it?

Net

I'm still waiting for Cities to install large nets that spring up across the intersection and catch your car if you run the light.

The net holds your car until you deposit $300 on the spot. wink

Wow, Only one person here

Wow,

Only one person here thinks as I do. I live in the Chicago area and people race to beat the light. When the turn arrow goes to red, vehicles that now have the green have to sit and wait for all the vehicles that continue to turn on the red. As far as I am concerned only idiots ignore the red to gain a few minutes and risk my life in doing so. I also see the cops (not on a call) ignore the red. Wake up, obey the law and you won't get a ticket.
Call me grumpy too.

In a twisted sort of way...

svetlo56 wrote:

I would appreciate honesty by the cities and cops. Why don't they put a cop at every intersection with a gun and have them rob us at the gunpoint? At least they would not say that this is for safety purposes, and the slowdown would decrease accidents, wouldn't it?

--In a twisted sort of way, this actually sums up a realistic way (sarcastically speaking) to see the madness of what certain cities are doing to their people every day!

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

Red light camera are money making revenue

Red light camera are money making revenue for the city government. They want the money to finance their city budget.

--
Val - Nuvi 785t and Streetpilot C340

Don't speed, don't run lights

But.... red light cameras are simply a tax. It is simply physics that governs the proper length of the yellow light. Cities are interested in the money, not safety.

Is 3 seconds enough? Totally depends on the speed limit, grade of the road, condition of the road. Think of a 60 mph posted road with a light at the bottom of a steep hill and throw in some rough pavement. Three seconds? No way - not possible. Too much momentum and too little grip on the road surface

Or think of a 30 mph uphill run to the light - with fresh smooth asphalt. Three seconds to stop? Easy, little momentum and lots of tire grip.

Can your city actually kept the lights synchronized on one way streets so they keep traffic running? Mine cannot. Why do you think they individually set the yellow length at each light properly and keep it calibrated? The National Highway Safety engineers have formulas to tell you exactly how long the yellow needs to be - I simply don't believe my city is capable of using this formula and calibrating the lights.

Rather than do that, they get a vendor to put in a camera and tax us because they cannot do their job. Pretty neat, make money from us to cover for their incompetence.

As for people who intentionally run red lights? Pull them over and pistol whip them as far as I'm concerned.

--
___________________ Garmin 855 / 2720 / Magellan Meridian Gold

Why run it?

I actually think some people feel cheated when their "green" is extremely short and feel entitled to run it. I don't agree with this practice, I just think it happens.

Additional income

It is a money generating income for the city and at the same time a cost savings for them since they can maximize able body use of their policeman on more important things.

Reminds me of....

This story reminds me of something a professor asked us in college years ago. Lets say that the government launches a satellite that monitors traffic and auto speed. Any time a car goes over the speed limit, by even 1 mph, the satellite would shoot a laser been at the car obliterating the car and occupants.

How fast would you drive (if at all) under those conditions?

Also, there was a futuristic novel I read once where the penalty for parking on the road shoulder was death on the spot!

CA Yellow Light Timing -

Here is a quote right out of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (FHWA’s MUTCD 2003 Edition, as amended for use in California) PART 4, Highway Traffic Signals STATE OF - what a mouth full!!

"A yellow change interval should have a duration of approximately 3 to 6 seconds. The longer intervals should be reserved for use on approaches with higher speeds."

That's time enough for me to stop - hope the guy behind me does.

Tampering with Traffic Lights by local jurisdictions is common

Shortening up the yellow lights in order to issue more red light tickets has been going on for some time in many jurisdictions across the country.

As I recall, some who have contested red-light tickets have brought up such evidence as defense of their innocence. If I ever get one of those tickets, I will go back and time the yellow light at that intersection, and at other intersections that do not have red light cameras. If the one with the camera is shorter, I would videotape all of them and superimpose a stop watch for courtroom evidence in each video, then do further research as to what the timing of yellow lights is "supposed to be" in that jurisdiction.

Then I would complete preparation of my court defense, and contact a local TV station and see if they had any interest in the story of how the "revenuers" of local goobermint were causing more rear-end accidents, and actually making intersections less safe, so that they can issue more tickets.

easy money grubb !! !! !!

These things are nothing more than an easy money grubb by the cities, what more can you say?!

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

Nets

Sport Billy wrote:

I'm still waiting for Cities to install large nets that spring up across the intersection and catch your car if you run the light.

The net holds your car until you deposit $300 on the spot. wink

Without reading your second paragraph, I thought you might have been a former "bird farm" (aircraft carrier) crew member. We use similar nets to "catch" UAVs on small boys when they come back from flying a mission.

there is a formula that the

there is a formula that the DOT uses to determine what the safe time interval would be for different lights. I know for a fact, I have some friends in Texas that got hit with a bogus ticket, took it to court and won..

its a shame and sham

I simply hate these red light cameras they do more harm then good. you always get stuck at these lights because everyone slows down to avoid even going through on a yellow. Now these cites are doing this and making people slow down even on the greens. can i say traffic

is atlanta one of the

is atlanta one of the unfortunate cities?

Agreed

subunesss wrote:

I simply hate these red light cameras they do more harm then good. you always get stuck at these lights because everyone slows down to avoid even going through on a yellow. Now these cites are doing this and making people slow down even on the greens. can i say traffic

I agree entirely - it's ridiculous how long it takes now to go the last 100 ft before a light

Wow

And to think I was all but called a criminal for suggesting these things on another thread.....Red Light camera's are revenue generators, thats it, anything else claimed is pure BS. And for the guy that thinks 3 seconds is enough time to stop from 50mph....there isn't a car made that can do it short of running into a brick wall, so congrats on doing the impossible, or atleast believing you can.

Can't Stop on a Dime

Yep, once I was caught at a short timed yellow. I was able to stop my car, but I ended up with the car partly in the intersection, and that's not acceptable. At least to the police because I got the ticket.

--
Tuckahoe Mike - Nuvi 3490LMT, Nuvi 260W, iPhone5

I Agree

It's ALWAYS about the money.

--
Tom

money money money

It's always about the money.....

Stunned

I am Stunned and Amazed. Who would of thought that the government would be any thing buy honest?

They just want to make as

They just want to make as much money as possible and not have to do any work basically

Chicago

Chicago's yellow lights are supposed to stay on for 3 seconds. This is for both those with cameras and not.

I am in NYC, many of the

I am in NYC, many of the lights are quite unpredictable, so it is quite difficult to drive without being super cautious all the time. I was pulled over for a yellow light duration of 1.5 seconds. The light was mounted just above the cross walk, there was not enough time to stop, but the worst part is the hearing process, they don't even listen to any logical explanation... extremely disappointing.... is there a way to fight back? I am sick and tired of the city stealing from us!

.

TinytimTony wrote:

They just want to make as much money as possible and not have to do any work basically

Congratulations! You've accurately and succinctly described what government is all about smile

It's no wonder that some people want smaller governments who don't spend lavishly. Big governments always need to come up with new ways to get the money they need to pay for their programs.

Write your Representatives

dockster wrote:

Chicago's yellow lights are supposed to stay on for 3 seconds. This is for both those with cameras and not.

A lack of standardization Country wide for traffic lights Caution cycle operation is the problem. Of course, there should be some variance based on the roads speed limit. I believe the Fed's should step in on this matter, and create a standardized traffic light operation based on loss of federal funds for local road projects when caught in violation of this standard practice. And create huge fines for red light operators for a violation since they share revenue.

Of course I don't see that happening anytime soon, politicians both Federal and State have been lobbied and that goes way beyond the local governments for that legislation to become law.

Unless of course you call or write your Representatives and complain and demand that they introduce such legislation.

--
Using Android Based GPS.The above post and my sig reflects my own opinions, expressed for the purpose of informing or inspiring, not commanding. Naturally, you are free to reject or embrace whatever you read.

Length of yellow lights

ray007 wrote:

I am in NYC, many of the lights are quite unpredictable, so it is quite difficult to drive without being super cautious all the time. I was pulled over for a yellow light duration of 1.5 seconds. The light was mounted just above the cross walk, there was not enough time to stop, but the worst part is the hearing process, they don't even listen to any logical explanation... extremely disappointing.... is there a way to fight back? I am sick and tired of the city stealing from us!

There was an article the other day in one of the newsgroups I monitor about the duration of yellow lights and their effect on traffic. It seems traffic engineers use a standard formula to calculate the length of a yellow light based on the posted speed limit for the street/road. For most city streets the time should be right around 3 to 3.5 seconds.

One city did a study and lengthened the time to 4.5 seconds and found some very confusing results. The number of collisions at the intersections with the long yellow went down - dramatically and the average speed of traffic on the street increased. The city is now experimenting with still more intersections and when that study is done in about 2 years if the numbers hold then they will change all the lights in the city to the longer yellow.

Oh, a side effect was the number of red light tickets also dropped.

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the city.

--
ɐ‾nsǝɹ Just one click away from the end of the Internet

revenue

Most of the cities need revenue from other source. Bad news for us

--
Val - Nuvi 785t and Streetpilot C340

Obey the law

nt233 wrote:

Wow,

Only one person here thinks as I do. I live in the Chicago area and people race to beat the light. When the turn arrow goes to red, vehicles that now have the green have to sit and wait for all the vehicles that continue to turn on the red. As far as I am concerned only idiots ignore the red to gain a few minutes and risk my life in doing so. I also see the cops (not on a call) ignore the red. Wake up, obey the law and you won't get a ticket.
Call me grumpy too.

I am with you, I value my life. Everyone is in too much of a hurry and have no consideration for anyone else.

Ray

--
No matter where you are "Life is Worth Living".

Government

I agree!

Lets see the Markets had a major adustment.
The Economy had a major adjustment.
Looks like all thats left is the Government needs a mojor adjustment.
They miss manage funds more then Main St and Wall Stret combined. Now look what you did... I'm back on my soap box.

Link?

a_user wrote:
ray007 wrote:

I am in NYC, many of the lights are quite unpredictable, so it is quite difficult to drive without being super cautious all the time. I was pulled over for a yellow light duration of 1.5 seconds. The light was mounted just above the cross walk, there was not enough time to stop, but the worst part is the hearing process, they don't even listen to any logical explanation... extremely disappointing.... is there a way to fight back? I am sick and tired of the city stealing from us!

There was an article the other day in one of the newsgroups I monitor about the duration of yellow lights and their effect on traffic. It seems traffic engineers use a standard formula to calculate the length of a yellow light based on the posted speed limit for the street/road. For most city streets the time should be right around 3 to 3.5 seconds.

One city did a study and lengthened the time to 4.5 seconds and found some very confusing results. The number of collisions at the intersections with the long yellow went down - dramatically and the average speed of traffic on the street increased. The city is now experimenting with still more intersections and when that study is done in about 2 years if the numbers hold then they will change all the lights in the city to the longer yellow.

Oh, a side effect was the number of red light tickets also dropped.

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the city.

I'd live to read more about that - link?

Looking for Source of Article

There was an article the other day in one of the newsgroups I monitor about the duration of yellow lights and their effect on traffic. It seems traffic engineers use a standard formula to calculate the length of a yellow light based on the posted speed limit for the street/road. For most city streets the time should be right around 3 to 3.5 seconds.

One city did a study and lengthened the time to 4.5 seconds and found some very confusing results. The number of collisions at the intersections with the long yellow went down - dramatically and the average speed of traffic on the street increased. The city is now experimenting with still more intersections and when that study is done in about 2 years if the numbers hold then they will change all the lights in the city to the longer yellow.

Oh, a side effect was the number of red light tickets also dropped.

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the city.[/quote]

I just yahoo searched for "yellow red traffic light length study" and the top of the list returned this one for Denver - sounds similar: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/mar/29/city-may-y...

Another article claims that five different studies prove that Red Light Cameras increase accidents: http://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras-increase-acc...

--
And now, back to your regularly scheduled forum - already in progress . . .

Source of Article

Yep, that's the article from the Denver Rocky Mtn. News.

--
ɐ‾nsǝɹ Just one click away from the end of the Internet

Lynnwood WA has the same problem too

Lynnwood WA has the same problem like everywhere else. It's all about the money. State need more $$$ for short 3.2 billion budget.

It's just a BIG money grab

It's just a BIG money grab against the very ones who elect them into office in the first place!!!

That's ALL!!!!!

--Why do we keep re-electing incumbants!?!?!

--
~Jim~ Nuvi-660, & Nuvi-680

Great Article

That was a very good article.

Our Fault

It all boils down to us. We allow them to do it so they keep raising the stakes. We need to be more vigilant of our gov. they get away with way too much if you let them.

No Stop Lights

I live in a small town and all we have are stop lights. Glad for that, we still get a lot of rollers, though, people roll on through the stop without ever coming to a complete stop. I like make sure the wheels stop rotating. Every time I stop I almost get a bump in the butt from drivers who are not used to stopping. Our biggest concern is the people who pull out in front of you when you are close to them. Seems to be an popular activity to scare other drivers. As you are casually driving along, zinnggggg, out from a driveway or stop sign comes another car forcing you to brake... fun stuff...

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