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Georgia: Red Light Cameras Struggle in Face of Longer Yellow
the Newspaper.com ^ | 03/11/2009 | n/a

Posted on 03/11/2009 8:20:07 AM PDT by Ken H

Lilburn, Georgia suspends red light camera program after extended yellow time cut violations by 80 percent.

On January 1, a new Georgia law kicked in forcing a one-second increase in the duration of the yellow warning light at intersections with red light cameras.

The result has been devastating for red light camera makers as violations -- and revenue -- immediately plunged for the months of January, February and March. Last week, the city of Norcross dumped photo enforcement. Now the UK-owned red light camera maker Lasercraft is offering its customers a 90-day suspension of service to prevent cities from dropping their automated ticketing contracts. The cities of Lilburn and Snellville accepted this offer yesterday and suspended their red light camera programs.

"With the passage of House Bill 77, effective January 1, 2009, there has been a precipitous decline in the number of citations issued through the program," Lilburn Police Chief J.B. Davidson wrote in a memo to the city council.

The mandated increase in signal time created dramatic and instant results. In 2008, Lasercraft issued an average of 1,559 citations each month. In January, that number dropped 80 percent to just 313. Norcross also saw an 80 percent drop in violations.

According to a 2001 report by the Office of the U.S. House Majority Leader, the findings in Lilburn and Norcross are not coincidental. The report argued that changes in national signal timing guidelines systematically reduced the amount of warning time available to motorists. It argued further that those with a financial incentive in using enforcement to deal with the additional violations created may have played a role in the changes (view report).

"This strongly suggests that inadequate yellow time is the major cause of red-light entries," the Congressional report stated. "If the vast majority of red light entries occur in the first second after the yellow light expires, it is reasonable to assume an additional second of yellow time on that light will yield a nearly 80 percent decrease in red light entries."

To date, Lilburn's three red light camera intersections have issued 57,528 tickets worth $4,026,960. Thanks to the longer yellow, however, monthly income from the program dropped $80,000 forcing Lasercraft to pause to discover what more might be done.

"The program vendor has proposed a plan to suspend the program for a ninety-day period, and the vendor will waive all Lasercraft charges during the suspension period," Davidson wrote.

Lilburn voted to accept the suspension to give Lasercraft time to come up with a plan to increase the number of citations. In a letter to Davidson, Lasercraft officials hinted that deactivating some cameras and presumably moving them to higher volume intersections could be part of the solution.

"In ninety days, on or before June 7th, the city and Lasercraft will meet to review the most current citation counts and make a decision as to reactivation of approaches, continuation of the suspension period, or de-commission of the program," Lasercraft Regional Director Ty Sellers wrote.

Lasercraft's letter also implied that violations may increase as drivers adapt to the longer yellow. This has not proved true in places such as Fairfax County, Virginia where the benefit of an increased yellow time appeared permanent. A 1985 report by the Institute of Transportation Engineers summarized the best opinion of experts as confirming the permanence of the benefit view report in PDF, see page 8).

"Research has consistently shown that drivers do not, in fact, adapt to the length of the yellow," the ITE report stated.

Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, accident data for January and February appear positive for the intersections with longer yellow. A copy of the Lasercraft letter and the police chief's memo to city council are available in a 325k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Details on Suspension of Red Light Camera Program (City of Lilburn, Georgia and Lasercraft, 3/10/2009)


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: donutwatch; economy; lasercraft; lping; policestate; redlightcamera; redlightcameras; revenuetickets
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1 posted on 03/11/2009 8:20:07 AM PDT by Ken H
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To: Ken H

These cameras were NEVER about safety ... revenue generation was and is the goal.


2 posted on 03/11/2009 8:21:20 AM PDT by mgc1122
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To: Ken H
Lilburn voted to accept the suspension to give Lasercraft time to come up with a plan to increase the number of citations.

Scum.

3 posted on 03/11/2009 8:23:44 AM PDT by Sir Gawain ("Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect")
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To: mgc1122

“These cameras were NEVER about safety ... revenue generation was and is the goal.”

That’s a fact! And it makes my blood boil.


4 posted on 03/11/2009 8:24:10 AM PDT by brownsfan (We are sooooo screwed.)
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To: Ken H
The mandated increase in signal time created dramatic and instant results. In 2008, Lasercraft issued an average of 1,559 citations each month. In January, that number dropped 80 percent to just 313. Norcross also saw an 80 percent drop in violations.

So sad.

5 posted on 03/11/2009 8:24:13 AM PDT by Ken H
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To: Ken H

This is great news!

We can save lives by simply increasing the yellow by 1 second!

Those cameras proved their worth! Now take them down.


6 posted on 03/11/2009 8:24:59 AM PDT by TSgt (Extreme vitriol and rancorous replies served daily. - Mike W USAF)
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To: Ken H

I guess the question is if the yellow signal at the monitored intersections was shortened when the cameras were installed in the first place. The reason to do that would be to increase revenues by setting up a trap

If adding an extra second reduces violations, reduces accidents, and reduces tickets, these are all good things. The fact that this is viewed as a problem shows how the purpose of traffic citations has become completely perverted.


7 posted on 03/11/2009 8:26:44 AM PDT by gridlock (BTW, Mods... It might be time to add "Barack" and "Obama" to spellcheck)
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To: Ken H

Those darn cameras are spouting up like mushrooms here in the Peoples Republic of Chicago. And I think that they are playing with the sequencing of the lights at some intersections to trap me and my fellow human ATM’s


8 posted on 03/11/2009 8:28:06 AM PDT by Thebaddog (Obama really did believe that stuff he was saying during the campaign)
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To: MikeWUSAF

Throw another second on and watch the lives saved really increase!


9 posted on 03/11/2009 8:28:26 AM PDT by beaversmom
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To: mgc1122
These cameras were NEVER about safety ... revenue generation was and is the goal.

Indeed.

"Lilburn voted to accept the suspension to give Lasercraft time to come up with a plan to increase the number of citations."

10 posted on 03/11/2009 8:28:32 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: publana

bump for later


11 posted on 03/11/2009 8:34:12 AM PDT by publana (Socialism is here to stay unless Communism wins the day.)
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To: mgc1122; All

Isn’t this just a re-hash of the “Great Ludowici Plan” of 1950-65? Welcome back to the Ghost of Governor Maddox!!!


12 posted on 03/11/2009 8:34:59 AM PDT by GOYAKLA (My Tee shirt for 2009-2012:" I voted FRED don't you wish you did")
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To: Ken H

I am not sure how prevalent they are elsewhere but here in the Toronto area they have started installing countdown timers in the traffic lights and to me they are a great idea. As a driver and a pedestrian you know exactly how much time you have before the light turns red and can judge and act accordingly. It is one of the better improvements that have come along.


13 posted on 03/11/2009 8:35:43 AM PDT by xp38
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To: tacticalogic

They could set the cameras to issue citations during that last second of yellow as well as the red.

Heck, set them to randomly flash cars going through the intersection. Just dial in how much money they want.


14 posted on 03/11/2009 8:39:58 AM PDT by Cold Heart
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To: brownsfan
“These cameras were NEVER about safety ... revenue generation was and is the goal.” That’s a fact! And it makes my blood boil.

If you want to fix them drive 10 miles below the posted speed and delay starting when the light turns green. They will cave if people do it.

15 posted on 03/11/2009 8:40:00 AM PDT by Rapscallion ("Going Galt" for a better world.)
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To: Ken H

Reading this correctly makes it clear that 80% of the citations went to vehicles that just barely failed to make it through the intersection before the light changed red.

80% and they knew it too!

SCUM!


16 posted on 03/11/2009 8:40:26 AM PDT by The Toll
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To: mgc1122

Revenue enhancement is the backbone of every government “enforcement” program. Speed traps are no different. If government wanted to save lives, they would lower speed limits to 30 mph. If governments wanted to curtail red light running or speeding, fines would be $1,000 and loss of license upon first offense. But they depend more on the revenue of their nuisance fines.


17 posted on 03/11/2009 8:41:45 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (Government employment exists to provide a middle class lifestyle to otherwise, unemployable people)
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To: Ken H

>>Lilburn voted to accept the suspension to give Lasercraft time to come up with a plan to increase the number of citations.<<

Gee, they don’t even try to hide it any more.

The traffic cops and their tools are LITERALLY the modern equivalent of highwaymen and bridge trolls. How do they honestly expect us to take them seriously?

Legitimate reasons for traffic laws:
1. Safety
2. Promote efficient traffic flow.

Illegitimate reasons for traffic laws:
3. Increase government (and their agents) revenues.
4. Intimidate the general public.

I ignore red left turn lights as well as normal traffic lights when it is clearly safe to proceed. I drive over the speed limit when it is clearly safe to do so. These both adhere to numbers 1 and 2. I have violated neither number 1 or number 2. However, I violate numbers 3 and 4 all the time.

Whether I get caught or not is like a game to me - and I am always playing it whenever behind the wheel. When you get caught, it is like playing monopoly and you land on Baltic Ave. If it is a serious DUI, etc., it is more like Park place with a few houses. But I make it around the board years at a time without landing on the other side’s property. And even when I do, I usually end up pulling a “get out of jail free” card.

Side note: Every time in my entire life I have been pulled over by a motorcycle, I have gotten a ticket of some sort. Usually significantly reduced offense, but always a ticket.


18 posted on 03/11/2009 8:43:53 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: beaversmom

>>Throw another second on and watch the lives saved really increase!<<

Actually, they could have it both ways. If they had not increased the yellow, but caused the other directions red to change to green after the green had changed to yellow, they could have kept the revenue up AND still gotten lots of citations. A win-win! Except for the poor schmucks getting the unfair tickets.

When at a light that has a camera, if I am the first car to have to stop I always slam on my brakes as hard as I can. I have good headrests and insurance.


19 posted on 03/11/2009 8:47:18 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: Sgt_Schultze

If government wanted to save lives, they would lower speed limits to 30 mph.


Actually, the traffic engineering stories tell us that if they wanted to save lives, they would set speed limits (generally increasing them) to the 85th percentile speed that the population of free-flowing automobile drivers would naturally drive if there were no speed limit, rounded up to the nearest 5 mph.


20 posted on 03/11/2009 8:47:52 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Obamanomics=Obamageddon)
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To: Ken H
LOL, well duh.

I wonder what a one-second increase of the delay between when a light turns red to when the opposing light turns green would accomplish?

We know it would accomplish less ticket revenue.

21 posted on 03/11/2009 8:48:32 AM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (Happiness is a choice!)
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To: RobRoy

Illegitimate reasons for traffic laws:
3. Increase government (and their agents) revenues.
4. Intimidate the general public.


Add:
5. Assuage NIMBY residents who wish they’d bought a home on a quieter street.


22 posted on 03/11/2009 8:49:32 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Obamanomics=Obamageddon)
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To: Ken H

Extended yellow lights may decrease violations, but if you want to decrease accidents, the best way is to delay the green lights.


23 posted on 03/11/2009 8:50:36 AM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: Ken H

While there was never any doubt that the Red Light program was about money, not safety, I am concerned about arbitrarily adding one second to yellow lights. However, this is a lost cause in the long run. It is a done deal. What people should be worried about now is “congestion pricing”, which is not yet a done deal.

There is a formula to calculate yellow times. It takes into account, traffic speed, width of the intersection, whether it is going uphill or downhill, etc. MANY studies have shown that making the yellow light one second shorter OR LONGER than then what the formula came up with causes MORE accidents.

The yellow lights should be set at the proper length and should not be changed for political (or revenue) reasons.


24 posted on 03/11/2009 8:53:01 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: Ken H
"With the passage of House Bill 77, effective January 1, 2009, there has been a precipitous decline in the number of citations issued through the program," Lilburn Police Chief J.B. Davidson wrote in a memo to the city council.

A rare example of useful legislation.

Lilburn voted to accept the suspension to give Lasercraft time to come up with a plan to increase the number of citations.

Maybe they'll try falsifying the photos.

25 posted on 03/11/2009 8:53:31 AM PDT by Interesting Times (For the truth about "swift boating" see ToSetTheRecordStraight.com)
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To: Cold Heart

A few years ago, I was driving though Brecksville, Ohio. As I came to the light at 82 and 21, there was a cop standing there with a little box in his hand. He was running the signal by hand just to catch people. I guess he didn’t like the looks of my work van, because he flashed the yellow for no more than a second before turning the light red. I slammed on my brakes, and did not get a ticket. I glared at the cop. Jerk stood there and laughed at me.
That policy is even worse than cameras!


26 posted on 03/11/2009 8:55:25 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Ken H
We deal with such things a little differently in Louisiana.
27 posted on 03/11/2009 8:58:12 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Fractal Trader

“Extended yellow lights may decrease violations, but if you want to decrease accidents, the best way is to delay the green lights.”

Agree, after a light turns red, wait about 2 seconds before the other light turns green. This would help prevent accidents for drivers that enter the intersection after the light turns red, and also for dealing with the legitimate residual traffic that entered when the light was green or yellow, but had to wait to make a left turn.


28 posted on 03/11/2009 9:03:53 AM PDT by Texan Tory
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To: gridlock
I guess the question is if the yellow signal at the monitored intersections was shortened when the cameras were installed in the first place. The reason to do that would be to increase revenues by setting up a trap.

This is, in fact, the case in every installation. Signal programming is often turned over to the contract camera provider so the local officials can have plausible deniability.

29 posted on 03/11/2009 9:09:22 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Welcome to the Obama-Democrat Depression.)
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To: Ken H

Democrats will probably start pushing to eliminate the yellow light. ;-)


30 posted on 03/11/2009 9:14:08 AM PDT by KansasGirl
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To: Ken H
On January 1, a new Georgia law kicked in forcing a one-second increase in the duration of the yellow warning light at intersections with red light cameras.

A tip 'o the derby to those Georgia politicians. This should be passed in every state of the Union. The "for public safety" hypocrisy is particularly galling when they take an in-your-face approach in defending the use of the cameras.

31 posted on 03/11/2009 9:16:04 AM PDT by Oatka ("A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." –Bertrand de Jouvenel)
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To: bamahead

Ping


32 posted on 03/11/2009 9:17:39 AM PDT by EdReform (The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed *NRA*JPFO*SAF*GOA*SAS*CCRKBA)
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To: Ken H

If the concern is REALLY about safety, then every intersection in the US should immediately lengthen the duration of the yellow lights.

Unless it really isn’t about safety.


33 posted on 03/11/2009 9:24:01 AM PDT by woollyone (I believe God created me- you believe you're related to monkeys. Of course I laughed at you!)
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To: Ken H
To date, Lilburn's three red light camera intersections have issued 57,528 tickets worth $4,026,960. Thanks to the longer yellow, however, monthly income from the program dropped $80,000 forcing Lasercraft to pause to discover what more might be done.

Note it isn't the city that is concerned about dropping revenue as Lasercraft is. I wonder if they are like other red light camera vendors, getting 50% of each violation payment (and probably a greater percentage of the fine, per contract, when a reduced fine is struck as a compromise between a community and a delinquent driver who initially declines to pay).

34 posted on 03/11/2009 9:31:35 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("Do you know the website number?" - VP Joe Biden)
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To: KansasGirl

Didn’t Michael Dukakis try to eliminate right turns on red?


35 posted on 03/11/2009 9:32:17 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("Do you know the website number?" - VP Joe Biden)
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To: RobRoy

“Every time in my entire life I have been pulled over by a motorcycle, I have gotten a ticket of some sort.”

One night, I watched a guy make a (normally legal, if done safely) U-turn into the southbound lane about 150 ft. in front of a police motorcycle going about 30 mph in the same lane southbound. (Collins Ave., Miami Beach) The driver got stopped. IMO episodes like this explain why motorcycle cops don’t give warnings;)


36 posted on 03/11/2009 9:32:25 AM PDT by Frank_2001
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To: mgc1122

b

These cameras were NEVER about safety ... revenue generation was and is the goal.


37 posted on 03/11/2009 9:33:23 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

38 posted on 03/11/2009 9:33:47 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("Do you know the website number?" - VP Joe Biden)
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To: Ken H

Protect and Serve my A$$. The vast majority of cops in my neck of the woods are now just glorified Revenue Enhancement Officers (REOs) with guns, badges, and attitudes. I pass the same spot every morning and most days there is a motorcycle cop with someone pulled over making a forced withdrawal from the human ATM occupant who was trying to make their way to work on time. Just wait until they force this whole GPS road tax stuff down our throats, then we’ll just get tickets in the mail since GPS can tell them where you were, what the speed limit is at that location, and how fast you were going. Cha ching.


39 posted on 03/11/2009 9:34:38 AM PDT by rednesss (fascism is the union,marriage,merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power)
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To: george76

What’s even worse is that so much of the punishment revenue goes to private corporations. It’s highway robbery. But apparently legislators like the lobbyists for these things.


40 posted on 03/11/2009 9:35:00 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("Do you know the website number?" - VP Joe Biden)
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To: RobRoy

With the way they stake out (3 or 4 patrol cars at a time in a lot to nab traffic violations) you’d think they don’t know where the crack houses are in this town (less than 5 minutes from the main police station) or where illegal aliens congregate to loiter while soliciting day labor jobs.


41 posted on 03/11/2009 9:38:51 AM PDT by a fool in paradise ("Do you know the website number?" - VP Joe Biden)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

God invented Utube for such situations. Not the time it happened to you, but someone could have gone back with a camera.


42 posted on 03/11/2009 9:46:11 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If Liberals would pay their taxes, there would be no deficit..)
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To: Ken H; Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, accident data for January and February appear positive for the intersections with longer yellow.

You have to wade all the way to the bottom to get to this salient point. As long as there is no increase in accidents, the yellow time should be as long as possible. Anything else is just a confiscatory tax and an unnecessary burden on drivers.

I would also wager it's not "green" to slow traffic down in already-slow zones as a consequence of drivers trying not to get ticketed. It just dumps more of what the left considers terrifying emissions into the air.

43 posted on 03/11/2009 9:49:51 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Praise and worship" is my alternate lifestyle.)
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To: xp38
...here in Toronto they have started installing countdown timers in the traffic lights and they are a great idea. As a driver and a pedestrian you know exactly how much time you have before the light turns red and can act accordingly. It is one of the better improvements that have come along.

That's a great suggestion. Major cities tend to have these at crosswalks -- I'm thinking Washington, DC, which has large red numerals, and Dublin, Ireland, which uses sound cues for pedestrians.

44 posted on 03/11/2009 9:53:35 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Praise and worship" is my alternate lifestyle.)
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To: Sgt_Schultze
If governments wanted to curtail red light running or speeding, fines would be $1,000 and loss of license upon first offense. But they depend more on the revenue of their nuisance fines.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the War on Drugs never stops drug trafficking. Too much money, cars and jewelry to be made/confiscated by local police stations.

45 posted on 03/11/2009 9:55:53 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Praise and worship" is my alternate lifestyle.)
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To: Ken H

I’m cryin’ a river here. (not)


46 posted on 03/11/2009 9:58:56 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (True nobility is exempt from fear - Marcus Tullius Cicero)
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To: KansasGirl
Democrats will probably start pushing to eliminate the yellow light. ;-)

Yes, it discriminates against the taxing authorities.

47 posted on 03/11/2009 9:59:38 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Praise and worship" is my alternate lifestyle.)
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To: mgc1122

“The result has been devastating for red light camera makers as violations — and revenue —”

Boo freaking hoo.


48 posted on 03/11/2009 10:02:12 AM PDT by Luke21
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To: Balding_Eagle

“someone could have gone back with a camera.”

It happened about ten years ago. I don’t know if they’re still doin’ it. Even though I grew up in Brecksville, and later had a cordial relationship with my neighbor, who was the Police Chief at the time of the redlight stunt, I decided not to complain. I figured it was better to keep my mouth shut than to have a mad cop and his buddies watchin’ for me every time I drove through.


49 posted on 03/11/2009 10:04:02 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Ken H

Now if there were some way to sue for the fraud committed by the local government and Lasercraft for INTENTIONALLY SHORTENING the yellow period before this law was in effect red light cameras would be gone forever.

I wish.


50 posted on 03/11/2009 10:04:47 AM PDT by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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