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Red light cameras too good for their own good?
MSNBC ^ | 21 March 2008 | Alex Johnson

Posted on 03/21/2008 2:41:20 AM PDT by roaddog727

Last week, Dallas officials reviewed the numbers and decided that a quarter of the cameras they had installed to catch motorists running red lights were too effective. So they shut them down.

They are not alone. Faced with data showing that drivers pay attention to cameras at intersections — resulting in fewer ticketable violations and ever-shrinking revenue from fines — municipalities across the country are reconsidering red light cameras, which often work too well.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Free Republic; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: redlight; redlightcamera; redlightcameras; revenue; stoplight; traffic; traffictickets
Put's things into stark perspective. Municipalities would prefer to have traffic fine revenue as opposed to reduce traffic accidents.

Such crap.

Even more reason to install them.

As always, have at it.

1 posted on 03/21/2008 2:41:21 AM PDT by roaddog727
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To: roaddog727

Last year I was driving through intersections daily that had these cameras installed. What I found was that it added still one more thing to be aware of at the intersection. As you drive through several flashes go off, and I don’t care how careful you are, you still wind up second-guessing yourself. ‘Did I do something wrong?’

Most of the time they go off, you can’t see anyone making a mistake. It really makes you wonder what the heck is going on.


2 posted on 03/21/2008 2:53:03 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Some think McCain should pick his No 2 now. I thought the nominee was No 2. And that No 1s me off!)
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To: roaddog727

It’s hard to avoid a ticket when the yellow light is programmed for 2 seconds. Municipalities will find a way to recoup their losses from people stop on a dime and end up being rear-ended.


3 posted on 03/21/2008 2:55:44 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: roaddog727

The obvious bureaucratic solution is to layoff traffic cops to offset the revenue short fall. But more unintended consequences will follow.


4 posted on 03/21/2008 3:19:21 AM PDT by shove_it (and have a nice day)
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To: roaddog727

The reason for the cameras is safety, not revenue for the city coffers. Now we find that the city fathers want people to get killed at intersections just so they have more money to spend.


5 posted on 03/21/2008 3:43:48 AM PDT by chainsaw ( No black racist Muslims in the WH.)
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OOPS where did our ticket revenue go?

I wish I could find an article about the small town that was basically just a speed trap. I forgot how it all worked out, but they wrote so many tickets that they ended up somehow owing the state money. It was years ago so it would be tough to find...


6 posted on 03/21/2008 3:44:42 AM PDT by KneelBeforeZod (I have five dollars for each of you)
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To: roaddog727

What idiots. I heard this on the news the other day. If it really was safety, they could have installed fake ones and signs for a fraction of the monthly fee they are paying to the camera companies.


7 posted on 03/21/2008 4:09:26 AM PDT by doodad
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To: freeangel

That is how they raise revenue.

I’d read an article some time ago about when collections would go down, the yellows were shortened to provide more.

The net effect was a drastic increase in rear-end collisions.


8 posted on 03/21/2008 4:16:39 AM PDT by RangerM (Get your own.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Ludowici, Georgia?


9 posted on 03/21/2008 4:20:07 AM PDT by Banjoguy (Nancy Pelosi is an anti-American traitor.)
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To: shove_it

A better solution is to have traffic cops working on serious crimes, like tracking down all those unsolved rapists and murderers.


10 posted on 03/21/2008 4:41:19 AM PDT by tbw2 ("Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" by Tamara Wilhite - on amazon.com)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

New Rome, Ohio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Rome,_Ohio


11 posted on 03/21/2008 4:53:02 AM PDT by xeno
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To: roaddog727
How have they failed to see the obvious solution?

Eliminate the yellow light!

12 posted on 03/21/2008 4:54:58 AM PDT by Erasmus (Regarding the Republican and the Democrat campaigns: From the ridiculous to the slime.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
I wish I could find an article about the small town that was basically just a speed trap.

New Rome, a suburb of Columbus, OH derived all its revenue from being a speed trap. New Rome was finally dissolved a few years ago. The Village had no activities other than running the speed trap.

13 posted on 03/21/2008 5:01:27 AM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: roaddog727
They're only mad that the "red light" cameras resulted in Spitzer having to resign. /sarc>

Cheers!

14 posted on 03/21/2008 5:07:51 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: freeangel

If it is actually 2 seconds, you have a strong case in court. The ITE has a bottom limit of 3 seconds for small intersections in low speed locations. The longest they recommend is 5 seconds (although one guy is pushing for 5.5 seconds). There is an actual formula that can be used to tell what the yellow time should be.


15 posted on 03/21/2008 5:29:53 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: chainsaw
"The reason for the cameras is safety, not revenue for the city coffers"

Yeah, right! Then how about offenders only having to do community service!

16 posted on 03/21/2008 6:02:25 AM PDT by Dacus943
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To: jim_trent

“If it is actually 2 seconds, you have a strong case in court.”

There have been numerous instances where the contractor responsible for managing the cameras decrease the time on yellow. Their contracts generally include profit sharing and if there are not adequate tickets handed out they lose money.

Some people in Dallas went to the trouble to time the lights in order to monitor the city. Apparently even after the city knew the yellow time was too short they took no action.


17 posted on 03/21/2008 6:08:34 AM PDT by driftdiver
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To: driftdiver

Dallas sucks. I drive up there a couple of times a month. The highways are toll roads, it is confusing as to which lanes to take, they have on ramps after off ramps and traffic is horrendous.


18 posted on 03/21/2008 6:37:56 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Shouldn't the libs love a Hunter Thompson ticket in 08?)
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To: roaddog727
I am amazed at the response here. Obviously the conclusion is that cities put these things in to raise revenue, and when they don't make enough money to pay the costs of the contractor who runs the whole scam, they take them out.

Funny thing that it turns out to be about the money and not about the children.

What part about human venality don't folks understand around here?

19 posted on 03/21/2008 6:39:01 AM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: AndyJackson

Of course it’s about the money. How else can my sister’s bf, who has multiple dui’s, still not have to do any jail time. Right now he’s got two warrants for not paying his fines, and he’s driving without a license and has had his registration on his truck revoked due to his insurance being cancelled due to his not having a valid driver’s license. Yeah, they (court system) care so much about the public’s safety...not. Just the money it generates from fines and such.


20 posted on 03/21/2008 7:09:39 AM PDT by Not just another dumb blonde
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To: driftdiver; jim_trent
There have been numerous instances where the contractor responsible for managing the cameras decrease the time on yellow. Their contracts generally include profit sharing and if there are not adequate tickets handed out they lose money.

I am a licensed professional engineer in a company that specializes in this kind of engineering work. Over the last few years I have made a number of offers on this site to represent -- free of charge -- any Freeper who has been given a traffic ticket at an intersection where one of these alleged "decrease the yellow time" schemes was in place.*

There is a very specific method that is used to compute yellow intervals for traffic signals -- based on various conditions at each intersection, including posted speeds on the intersecting roadways, sight distance, allowances for increased stopping distance under certain weather conditions, etc.

To date, I have not had a single poster here accept my offer.

* My only condition is that I get 10% of any monetary damages that are awarded in civil court as a result of any lawsuit that would surely follow such a finding. I would also take great pleasure in filing all of the necessary paperwork to have the engineer responsible for such a disgraceful travesty brough up on formal ethical/disciplinary charges before the appropriate licensing board in his/her state.

21 posted on 03/21/2008 7:14:14 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Well, thanks for the offer! Maybe it is that freepers are generally far more law-abiding. And I won’t be suggesting you make your offer to the greener pastures of criminal behaviors known as chaos, dummy-ville, huffy-puffy and cetera.


22 posted on 03/21/2008 7:19:23 AM PDT by bvw (KOS, DU, Huffy-Puffy)
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To: freeangel

It’s hard to avoid a ticket when the yellow light is programmed for 2 seconds. Municipalities will find a way to recoup their losses from people stop on a dime and end up being rear-ended.


Either increases in rear enders or increases in t-bones. However I don’t think will cut the time much below the 1 second per 10 mph of speed limits that some now use. Although Houston did cut the time on some intersections recently below that norm.


23 posted on 03/21/2008 7:30:33 AM PDT by deport ( -- Cue Spooky Music --)
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To: Alberta's Child

You should get in touch with the National Motorists’ Association - http://www.motorists.com/ - they’ve been following the red-light camera issue for years.

To wit:


January 14, 2002 - “The most significant change in the number of violations occurred at the intersection of Mission Bay Drive and Grand (1541) where the yellow change interval was extended from 3.1 seconds to 4.7 seconds. This change resulted in an 88-percent decrease in the number of violations. At the five other intersections, the number of violations dropped significantly in response to longer yellow times.”
[”City of San Diego Enforcement System Review Final Report”, PB Farradyne Inc., January 14, 2002, Chapter 6 (Traffic Engineering and Traffic Operations Improvements”, page 78] (there was no public disclosure of the yellow increases when they happened or the results from making them)

Don’t you recall that San Diego was sued and that shortening of yellow intervals was documented and proven in a class-action lawsuit resulting in the cancellation of thousands of tickets and removal of red light cameras?

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/00/63.asp


4. After the red light program began in San Diego, at least two intersections had their yellow light phases shortened by a full second before the computer-enforcement devices were installed. The intersections were: (1) Grand Avenue and Mission Bay Drive; and (2) Mira Mesa and Scranton Road.

...and...

One of the computer-enforced intersections, the intersection at Grand Avenue and Mission Bay Drive, had citations drop from more than 1,000 per month to less than 50 per month when the yellow light time was increased by 1.7 seconds – from 3.0 seconds to 4.7 seconds – allowing drivers sufficient time to react.



24 posted on 03/21/2008 10:09:32 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: Alberta's Child

“There is a very specific method that is used to compute yellow intervals for traffic signals — based on various conditions at each intersection, including posted speeds on the intersecting roadways, sight distance, allowances for increased stopping distance under certain weather conditions, etc.”

They don’t have stop light cameras in Florida where I’m at. The times I’ve been in Dallas I’ve managed to avoid running any red lights.

The cameras are run by computers,correct? So while there is a specific formula by which the timing should be set the value is set by a person. That person can make a mistake or can set it incorrectly.

IMO stop light cameras are solely about revenue generation and not about safety.


25 posted on 03/21/2008 10:30:15 AM PDT by driftdiver
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To: RangerM
Photobucket

Another success for the nanny state!

26 posted on 03/21/2008 7:12:12 PM PDT by ME-262 (Nancy Pelosi is known to the state of CA to render Viagra ineffective causing reproductive harm.)
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To: mvpel
I don't doubt that municipalities have reduced yellow intervals in an attempt to collect more revenue from red light cameras. My point is that I have yet to come across a single case in which a municipality has reduced the length of a yellow phase at any signal to an interval that is less than the interval that is warranted under traffic engineering standards for the safe operation of that intersection.

. . . the intersection of Mission Bay Drive and Grand (1541) where the yellow change interval was extended from 3.1 seconds to 4.7 seconds. This change resulted in an 88-percent decrease in the number of violations. At the five other intersections, the number of violations dropped significantly in response to longer yellow times.

This isn't exactly a huge surprise. Reporting a decline in red-light violations after an increase in the yellow intervals at an intersection from 3.1 to 4.7 secinds is sort of like reporting a decline in drunk driving arrests after an increase in the legal BAC limit from 0.08% to 0.12%. The number of violations has declined because the definition of a violation has changed!

The question is: What SHOULD the length of the yellow interval at that intersection be?

I have no evidence to support this other than my own professional experience in this field, but there is no question in my mind that the single biggest factor in red-light violations at an intersection is THE EXCESSIVE SPEED OF MOTORISTS on the intersecting roadways. If a roadway has a posted speed of 35 miles per hour, the signal timing plans for its signalized intersections are going to be designed based on that speed. This means that anyone driving faster than that posted speed -- even just a little faster (say, 40 miles per hour) -- will face potential situations in which the length of the yellow interval will seem insufficient for a motorist approaching the intersection. A higher travel speed introduces an element -- called the "dilemma zone" in traffic engineering -- that involves a brief moment of uncertainty on the part of a motorist approaching a traffic signal just as the indicator turns from green to yellow (i.e., should I try to beat the light or should I brake hard to stop in time?).

27 posted on 03/22/2008 8:24:14 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: driftdiver
You might be interested in #27, too.

IMO stop light cameras are solely about revenue generation and not about safety.

I agree with you 100%. Ironically, one point of this article is that the REMOVAL of red light cameras will ultimately be driven by revenue generation (or lack thereof), too!

28 posted on 03/22/2008 8:26:26 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Obviously there are people for whom a yellow light means to floor it. The camera industry has financial incentive to hand out more tickets. Most Americans hate traffic cameras IMHO because they are un-American. We do not trust our govt officials or the companies making money off the tickets.


29 posted on 03/22/2008 3:29:36 PM PDT by driftdiver
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To: chainsaw

Bull. If safety was important, there would be no red-light cameras. It would be up to the good judgement of our citizenry as to whether it is safer to stop at the light... or continue driving to avoid a rear-end collision.

With red-light cameras, the choice is gone. One MUST stop or one is in violation of the law. If stopping results in a rear-end collision, well... you no longer have the choice to avoid it.


30 posted on 03/22/2008 7:49:45 PM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: gogogodzilla

(snip)At the heart of the discussions taking place in city councils and county commissions is tension between the twin benefits that were touted when local governments began installing cameras about a decade and a half ago. Officials were promised that the cameras — which take snapshots of busy intersections, capturing the license plates of any cars that are running the light — would simultaneously save lives and generate millions of dollars in extra fines.(snip)

I agree with you, but I was commenting on the article. Read (smip).


31 posted on 03/23/2008 4:24:52 AM PDT by chainsaw ( No black racist Muslims in the WH.)
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