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Accidents fall at Houston red-light camera intersections (AFTER the cameras are turned off)
Houston Chronicle ^ | May 11, 2011 | JAMES PINKERTON

Posted on 05/12/2011 12:31:33 PM PDT by a fool in paradise

In the five months after Houston voters forced city officials to turn off a camera surveillance system that fined motorists for running red lights, traffic accidents at those 50 intersections with 70 cameras have decreased 16 percent, according to recently released data.

The drop in accidents surprised Houston police administrators who say a possible explanation is the unusually dry weather during recent months has made driving conditions safer. They also wonder if years of electronic monitoring have made Houstonians better, if not more cautious, drivers.

Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin said he had assumed accidents at those intersections were increasing since HPD is still receiving raw data from the camera vendor indicating motorists were running lights with much greater frequency at many intersections...

(Excerpt) Read more at blog.chron.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cultureofcorruption; donutwatch; globalwarming; houston; houstoncomical; pravdamedia; redlightcameras; revenuetickets
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DESPITE The Houston Chronicle being ra-ra for the cameras and only including this NEWS item in their blog section AND using a misleading headline (that omits the details about accidents dropping AFTER the cameras were "turned off"), the truth is getting out there (on 790AM radio and elsewhere).
1 posted on 05/12/2011 12:31:37 PM PDT by a fool in paradise
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To: a fool in paradise

They were higher because people are more distracted, nervous drivers knowing that they are being filmed. Anytime you add a pressure element to someone who is driving, you are more likely to increase accident rates.

But, it’s never been about decreasing accidents, anyway.


2 posted on 05/12/2011 12:35:55 PM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: 1riot1ranger; Action-America; Aggie Mama; Alkhin; Allegra; American72; antivenom; Antoninus II; ...

Houston PING

Police union and other officials are citing the lack of rain for the drop in accidents and claiming that higher gas prices may also be a contributing factor. They also say that the cameras have been turned “off” yet say that they are still accounting how many people are “running” red lights. All tickets USED to go through an officer review process to make sure that the trigger wasn’t noting legal right turns on red and other legal scenarios. Without the camera footage, they cannot claim that runners have INCREASED, then again maybe they lied about the cameras being “off”.

I could just as easily cite the rise in gas prices as a reason more people are running red lights to improve gas mileage. Isn’t this fun playing “take a wild a&&ed guess?”


3 posted on 05/12/2011 12:36:00 PM PDT by a fool in paradise ("If Eric Holder had his way, O-B-L would still be alive today." Thank you President Bush for Gitmo.)
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To: a fool in paradise

People only get into accidents because they follow REAL close each other trying to cram into the intersection, so when one person slams on their brakes for the camera the others domino into them. The cameras cannot make people drive stupid. They already do.


4 posted on 05/12/2011 12:36:28 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: a fool in paradise
The drop in accidents surprised Houston police administrators who say a possible explanation is the unusually dry weather during recent months has made driving conditions safer.

Or maybe people aren't slamming on the brakes during yellow lights any longer, but are instead clearing intersections normally - you know, they way they are supposed to on a yellow light.

5 posted on 05/12/2011 12:37:02 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: a fool in paradise
We have red light cameras in my town, and I sometimes stop on a yellow when I should have gone through because it's simply hard to judge on the fly, and getting one of those tickets in the mail would really piss me off. Stopping when traffic behind you is expecting you to go can cause rear-enders.

If people are running a particular red light, it means the yellow isn't long enough. Period.

Red light cameras are about the revenue, nothing else.

6 posted on 05/12/2011 12:48:51 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islamophobia: The fear of offending Muslims because they are prone to violence.)
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To: dirtboy; CodeToad

Those “surprised Houston police administrators” are idiots. As both you suggest, and as it’s been well documented, while having red-light cameras decrease the number of broad-side accidents somewhat, the number of rear-end accident increases significantly. I wonder how much the “surprised Houston police administrators” get paid......


7 posted on 05/12/2011 12:49:07 PM PDT by norcal joe
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To: CodeToad

Maybe you should learn to drive.


8 posted on 05/12/2011 12:50:23 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islamophobia: The fear of offending Muslims because they are prone to violence.)
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To: a fool in paradise
They also wonder if years of electronic monitoring have made Houstonians better, if not more cautious, drivers.

LOL! That's a good one!

-PJ

9 posted on 05/12/2011 12:52:56 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, and American on Election Day.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Once red-light cams are installed, the greedy cities reduce the yellow light length into the nanosecond range, thus AUTOMATICALLY hiking tickets and REVENUE!


10 posted on 05/12/2011 12:54:50 PM PDT by 2harddrive
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To: a fool in paradise
The drop in accidents surprised Houston police administrators who say a possible explanation is the unusually dry weather during recent months has made driving conditions safer.

Aha ha ha ha ha...stop, my sides are hurting!

11 posted on 05/12/2011 1:03:41 PM PDT by Mr.Unique (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

bttt


12 posted on 05/12/2011 1:12:50 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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To: a fool in paradise
As much as I would like to say that the cameras were causing accidents, and "turning them off" has reduced collisions, it's far more likely that there are other causes.

Most likely, it's Obama's fault. $4+ gallon gas cuts down on the number of people driving. Fewer drivers, and even fewer miles traveled will make for significant reductions in accidents.

The WAG from the unnamed "police administrators" about weather could also explain some things. I used to be a parts manager at an auto dealership. Whenever we had severe thunderstorms (or wintry weather in Atlanta area), I used to joke with the new and used car sales guys, "This is great wholesale parts weather!!" Many of my biggest wholesale customers were body shops.

Weather would cause reduced accident rates at all intersections, not just the ones with cameras.

13 posted on 05/12/2011 1:13:04 PM PDT by cc2k ( If having an "R" makes you conservative, does walking into a barn make you a horse's (_*_)?)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

“Maybe you should learn to drive.”

What ever gave you that idea?


14 posted on 05/12/2011 1:19:04 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: cc2k

Well, fuel usage IS down 2%, but the accidents dropped 16%. And to be frank, this only confirms what has already been proven: the camreas increase rear end accidents.

And the other dirty little secret is that most tickets issued because of these cameras are for people making a free right in a red but failing to come to a “complete stop with rollback”.

These cameras are a farce and always have been.


15 posted on 05/12/2011 1:22:10 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: dirtboy

I was in Vienna a few summers ago and noticed that they have a countdown timer next to the yellow lights to let drivers know how much time they have before it turns red. No surprises. Perhaps we should do that here. Shorten the green light cycle by a few seconds, extend the yellow by a few seconds and count down from 6 or thereabouts. Maybe 1.5 seconds of yellow light for every 10 mph of the posted speed limit.


16 posted on 05/12/2011 1:22:28 PM PDT by Two Kids' Dad ((((( Obama's in need of a good Caining next year. )))))
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To: a fool in paradise

The ‘red light’ cameras here in Tucson are a major hazard as drivers speed up to make the light and then slow down unexpectedly to avoid the camera and cause rear end accidents. They should be removed as they are only a blessing to the companies that install them and reap the cash benefits.


17 posted on 05/12/2011 1:22:57 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: CodeToad

>>The cameras cannot make people drive stupid.<<

Actually, that is false. The cameras most definitely do that for many people - they know it’s a camera intersection, the light turns yellow, they slam on their brakes even though they actually had plenty of time to go through. It actually happens a lot.

And the more people slam on their brakes, the more rear-enders there will be.


18 posted on 05/12/2011 1:26:05 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: a fool in paradise

I’ve seen people absolutely stomp on their brakes at a yellow light that had one of those red light cameras and warning signs. Actually, I’ve seen it many times.

Why? Because they don’t want to risk a “fast yellow” and have to pay a hefty fine.

THAT’s how “red light cameras” cause accidents.

But it’s just too complicated for your average politician or LSM media scum to figure out, apparently...


19 posted on 05/12/2011 1:28:08 PM PDT by piytar (Obama opposed every tool used to get Osama. So of course he gets the credit. /hurl)
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To: cc2k

If there are fewer drivers, then how is it light runners are significantly “up”? Are they that far up?

Are gas stations noting a sharp decline in gas purchases? Wouldn’t that cause prices to drop?


20 posted on 05/12/2011 1:32:08 PM PDT by a fool in paradise ("If Eric Holder had his way, O-B-L would still be alive today." Thank you President Bush for Gitmo.)
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To: cc2k

If there are fewer drivers, then how is it light runners are significantly “up”? Are they that far up?

Are gas stations noting a sharp decline in gas purchases? Wouldn’t that cause prices to drop?


21 posted on 05/12/2011 1:32:08 PM PDT by a fool in paradise ("If Eric Holder had his way, O-B-L would still be alive today." Thank you President Bush for Gitmo.)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

They are more nervous and brake happy knowing that if they get photoed a $175 traffic ticket will head their way.

More people are becoming aware that red light cams do end up causing more accidents at intersections. All it is to city governments is for revenue enhancement.

Big government and big business working together to screw you out of your hard earned money because even the red light camera company gets a percentage!


22 posted on 05/12/2011 1:36:22 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: a fool in paradise
Assistant Police Chief Brian Lumpkin at the podium:


23 posted on 05/12/2011 1:39:24 PM PDT by savedbygrace (But God.)
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To: RobRoy

You are blaming an object for your foot pressing the brake pedal. Humans decide how to act, not cameras.


24 posted on 05/12/2011 1:42:39 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: RobRoy
You are absolutely correct! My wife received a ticket and when I viewed the video it was apparent she did a “rolling stop” to turn right on a red.

The whole thing is a total scam to create revenue.

25 posted on 05/12/2011 1:49:12 PM PDT by wmont2
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To: Two Kids' Dad
I was in Vienna a few summers ago and noticed that they have a countdown timer next to the yellow lights to let drivers know how much time they have before it turns red. No surprises. Perhaps we should do that here.
Saw that kind of thing in Turkey 5 years ago. Makes all kind of sense if your motive is assuring smooth, safe traffic flow.
Shorten the green light cycle by a few seconds, extend the yellow by a few seconds and count down from 6 or thereabouts. Maybe 1.5 seconds of yellow light for every 10 mph of the posted speed limit.
I'm all for it. But the cynic in me says that the reduced driver uncertainty would lead to fewer bad decisions, leading to lower city revenue from tickets. And that might be the actual motivation of some of our "representatives."
There was a big brouhaha recently about iPhones remembering their owners' locations. I think that officials responsible for traffic rules & regulations should carry a device which records their movements, so that the public can see if they obey the laws they impose on the rest of us. Down to the last jot and tittle, so they would have to either reform their driving into complete ninnyhood, or else enact more reasonable legislation/regulation.

26 posted on 05/12/2011 2:00:03 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

Police union is trying to claim that the push to end red light cameras is to increase police presence at traffic lights to make more court money for lawyers trying to get people out of red light tickets. Can’t they hire a lawyer to fight a red light CAMERA ticket as well?

And one of the guys (not sure if it’s this one) who started the legal fight to end red light cameras also fought an earlier measure that required drivers with 3 or more glass nicks in their windshield to get the glass replaced. The glass (and body shop) lobby was not pleased to see that law end.


27 posted on 05/12/2011 2:01:14 PM PDT by a fool in paradise ("If Eric Holder had his way, O-B-L would still be alive today." Thank you President Bush for Gitmo.)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

So let’s get this straight, its the fault of the camera that made the idiotic Houston drivers run red lights and sometimes rearend someone who did the right thing and actually stopped for the red light?

Reading further into the report it says they still have the cameras on and are videoing more red light runners now that they know the tickets aren’t being issued.

The problem with the red light runner cams was that the “ticket” was a civil penalty not a criminal penalty and obviously was not harsh enough. I guarantee if they made red light running a 3 strikes your out (pull tags off car and pull DL), this stupid and very dangerous red light running would stop.

Defending red light running is mighty pinheaded.


28 posted on 05/12/2011 2:05:39 PM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: cc2k
"As much as I would like to say that the cameras were causing accidents, and "turning them off" has reduced collisions, it's far more likely that there are other causes."

Strange how those other causes suddenly disappeared when the cameras were first installed and the accident rates went up.

I'm sure it's all coincidental.

29 posted on 05/12/2011 2:06:49 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

And you would never get a ticket if you made the experienced decision to stop while it was yellow since you felt you could not clear the intersection. I do it all the time and applaud your decision to do so. It’s just not worth the cost or the chance of a t-bone.

I never issued a summons to a person if they were on the back half of the intersection and clearing it, only if they were just entering it at red. That’s blatant, and clear to the other motorists as well.

I feel that yellows could be extended or have a two second breather where the whole intersection sits at red while stragglers clear. This may reduces accidents. Some places have tried roundabouts as well. Roundabouts slow the traffic, but no one really stops.

If cities want to fine motorists for this, make it something reasonable ($20?) and show exactly where the fine money goes. It must be used for something worthwhile, like victim’s advocacy, or as part of the budget for police EQUIPMENT only, no raises or benefits increase. Those items should come at the purview and agreeance of the city council.


30 posted on 05/12/2011 2:26:37 PM PDT by Molon Labbie
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To: CodeToad

Human behavior (acting) is heavily influenced by external stimuli. The entire purpose of these cameras (besides revenue) is to change peoples behavior. So to say these cameras have no influence on the behavior of drivers is not accurate.


31 posted on 05/12/2011 3:05:22 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Never heard anymore lame-azz excuses for the data that doesn’t really fall in their favor...

I think we need to remind them that the people have voted these revenue generating abominations into oblivion...

They need to be taken down and rendered inoperative in this city yesterday...The fact that they are still being used to “study” is just what we also did not want to have happen...

They need to get over it, and get rid of them...If they need revenue, then do it the old fashioned way...Catch ‘em...


32 posted on 05/12/2011 3:42:25 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: driftdiver

I believe it actually influences the behavior of the proponents...They believe they are doing the public a service,when in fact they are nothing more than cashiers at a grocery store...

Paper or plastic, is about the only concept they can understand...And when the customers don’t want that, they tell them what they want, and the believers don’t do it...Guess what happens...


33 posted on 05/12/2011 3:46:49 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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To: Political Junkie Too

They also wonder if years of electronic monitoring have made Houstonians better, if not more cautious, drivers.”

Obviously this “they” person has not driven in Houston.


34 posted on 05/12/2011 5:39:40 PM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: CodeToad
Just because state X licenses and recognizes something does not mean that state Y does; example: concealed carry permits.

Suppose that proceeding through the intersection would give one a 5% chance of getting a $200 ticket, but slamming on the brakes would have a 0.25% chance of causing an accident in which the other driver would be found at fault, and in which the likelihood of severe injury would probably not be too great. Are you suggesting that drivers who find themselves in such a situation should simply brave the ticket? It seems to me that the cameras would make what would otherwise be irrational behavior (causing a 1 in 400 chance of an accident for no good reason), rational.

35 posted on 05/12/2011 7:08:25 PM PDT by supercat (Barry Soetoro == Bravo Sierra)
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To: CodeToad
You are blaming an object for your foot pressing the brake pedal. Humans decide how to act, not cameras.

[Mis-pasted quoted text in last post]

36 posted on 05/12/2011 7:10:06 PM PDT by supercat (Barry Soetoro == Bravo Sierra)
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To: Two Kids' Dad

In the nearest town up here, the ‘don’t walk’ lights for pedestrians on the cross streets flash (usually between 4 and 7 times) before the traffic light changes to yellow. It gives pedeatrians time to clear the cross street before the signal changes. If you can see those, you generally have a countdown timer to the light change.


37 posted on 05/12/2011 8:50:48 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: CodeToad

>>You are blaming an object for your foot pressing the brake pedal. Humans decide how to act, not cameras.<<

Absolutely! And the presence of the camera is one of the environmental factors that causes human reaction. You know, like when you see a radar cop, no matter how fast you are going you instinctively take your foot off the gas. :)

Same thing for some people.


38 posted on 05/12/2011 10:02:27 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: dusttoyou

You don’t understand what a “red light runner” is. You are out of your element here. I’ve been following this since we didn’t have these cameras in the US. I’ve been following the stats. Go to youtube and search “red light camera” and see what you find. Even though the purpose of these cameras is “claimed” to be to stop red light runners, most of the tickets (over 60% are written for making a free right turn and not coming to a complete stop with rollback. That is not a safety ticket.

Watch the videos. Seriously.

Oh, and in some parts of California you can be at an intersection where there is clearly no traffic for miles in any direction. But if you almost stop, and maybe even very slowly coast for five or six feet before taking your free right, you will get a $350 to $425 ticket in the mail.

That is ridiculous.


39 posted on 05/12/2011 10:14:50 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: dusttoyou

>>Defending red light running is mighty pinheaded.<<

People are not defending red light running. They are attacking the real reason the cameras exist - revenue.


40 posted on 05/12/2011 10:15:52 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: a fool in paradise

Actually the Houston Pravda had it on the front page in the newspaper vending machine. I saw the headline walking into work. I didn’t buy the paper; I don’t have a bird. I was surprised the paper had it on the front page.


41 posted on 05/13/2011 4:50:05 AM PDT by johngalt42 ("Live free or die, Death is not the worst of Evils." Gen. John Stark, 1801)
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To: RobRoy

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!


42 posted on 05/13/2011 5:13:42 AM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: RobRoy

We got our first red light camera at Yosemite and Arapahoe road. Anyone who has been there prior to the cameras knows that the entire intersection was jammed with red light runners from all directions. With the cameras the intersection is not clear and flows smoothly. They placed cameras at about 6 more interesections with the same problem. So, to me, the cameras were not revenue generators but have solved major problems at key intersections.


43 posted on 05/13/2011 7:52:08 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: RobRoy

“You know, like when you see a radar cop, no matter how fast you are going you instinctively take your foot off the gas. :)

Only if I know that I am speeding. :)

Just because one action causes someone doing an action they should not have been doing to act badly doesn’t mean the first action is wrong.


44 posted on 05/13/2011 7:54:23 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: CodeToad

>>Only if I know that I am speeding.<<

I do it instinctively, and for good reason: You can sometimes increase your speed without knowing it and be in a “zero tolerance” area.

I was on a road that was straight as an arrow with no side streets or residential buildings, yet the speed limit was 25. the road “felt” like a 45 zone. I was doing 24 because I was participating in a rally and had to be precisely on speed. Good thing too, because there was a radar cop behind a bush.

It is prudent to always let your foot off the gas when you see radar because you just may be unknowingly speeding. People are not machines. I am not as accurate as my cruise control because I have other things to think about. And normal human beings would become quickly fatigued if they monitored their speed precisely at all times.

Cops in some areas depend on it.

>>Just because one action causes someone doing an action they should not have been doing to act badly doesn’t mean the first action is wrong.<<

You are assuming that all traffic violations are intentional. Most are not, actually. It’s why good people get tickets all the time.


45 posted on 05/13/2011 9:23:37 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: CodeToad

>>We got our first red light camera at Yosemite and Arapahoe road. Anyone who has been there prior to the cameras knows that the entire intersection was jammed with red light runners from all directions. With the cameras the intersection is not clear and flows smoothly. They placed cameras at about 6 more interesections with the same problem. So, to me, the cameras were not revenue generators but have solved major problems at key intersections.<<

Yes, I’ve seen this in some Chicago intersections as well. I was at one where I had a green and yet THREE cars, one behind the other, continued into the intersection in front of me. It is one reason that I look before I leap if I am the first car in line at a green light.

You also bring up the official reason these cameras were introduced in the first place. And, frankly, I think it just might work if they did just two things:

1. Slightly extend the length of the yellw at “red light” intersections.
2. Ignore “California stop” free right turns. That is not the “safety” reason that is used to justify their presence. It is the T-bone accidents from someone running a red, just after the yellow.

The cameras are brutal on number two. It is the main source of revenue from these things. If it were not for number two, most people just may think these cameras were ok and they wouldn’t be voted out EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY ARE BROUGHT TO A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE.


46 posted on 05/13/2011 9:30:32 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: dusttoyou

>>Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!<<

It’s not like robbing a bank. You can accidentally speed, run a “yellow/red” light, not come to a complete stop, “with rollback”, at a stop sign. You cannot accidentally rob a bank, or rape someone, or shoplift, with the exception of absent mindedly slipping a can of tuna in your coat pocket at the Sac-o-Suds.


47 posted on 05/13/2011 9:45:38 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: RobRoy
NO YOU ARE WRONG!!
To run a red light is an intentional act. A stupid intentional act that can easily kill or mame someone aside from the stupid perpetrator.

Rolling right turn is not quite as bad as you fools that blow though a red light, but damn near as dangerous.

This is no different that some fool shooting a gun through a residential area or a school playground, just to hear it go BANG.

Regarding the BS about “cities shorting yellow lights” have you taken the time to document this? NO! have you ever had anyone involved with the technical procedure admit this was done? NO! Show us one case where this is not just so much BS as a ploy to be able to blow though a red light.

48 posted on 05/13/2011 3:42:46 PM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: dusttoyou

http://blog.motorists.org/6-cities-that-were-caught-shortening-yellow-light-times-for-profit/


49 posted on 05/13/2011 3:51:12 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: RobRoy
Yes, I’ve seen this in some Chicago intersections as well. I was at one where I had a green and yet THREE cars, one behind the other, continued into the intersection in front of me. It is one reason that I look before I leap if I am the first car in line at a green light.

If three extra cars from your direction went through ahead of you when your light was turning red, but you stopped, and on the next half-cycle three cars in the other direction went through when their light was turning red, wouldn't the impediment to your progress caused by the latter group of three cars be offset by the fact that your position in the queue was three cars ahead of where it would otherwise have been?

Obviously there's a limit to how far cars should push a light that's turning red. If there weren't, the light may as well not be there. On the other hand, having the actual hand-off of traffic flow occur a little later relative to the timing of the lights will generally ensure that by the time the hand-off occurs, everybody's intentions are clear. This will, to a certain extent, improve efficiency and safety.

50 posted on 05/13/2011 4:36:52 PM PDT by supercat (Barry Soetoro == Bravo Sierra)
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