Florida Reduces Yellow Light Times to Generate Red Light Camera Revenue

Via Crony Chronicles

The 10 News Investigators found a number of communities shortened their already-safe intervals to the new minimums. In some cases, FDOT mandated longer yellow lights, but seemingly only at intersections that hadn’t been in compliance for years.  Around Greater Tampa Bay, the yellow interval reductions typically took place at RLC intersections and corridors filled with RLC cameras.

FDOT’s change in language may have been subtle, but the effects were quite significant. The removal of three little words meant the reduction of yellow light intervals of up to a second, meaning drastically more citations for drivers. A 10 News analysis indicates the rule change is likely costing Florida drivers millions of dollars a year.

When I lived near Denver, the government (not sure if city, state or county) reduced the speed limit and messed up the traffic light timing of a free road that paralleled a new toll road to try to generate more money for itself and its private toll operator.

  • http://profiles.google.com/oneteam Dan Sherman

    And libs wonder why some of us are leery of a potential for tyranny.

  • Dave Boz

    The reduced yellow light times may also kill a few people, but that's not a really big thing when we're talking about generating more $dough for the government.

  • smilerz

    If this was private enterprise there would be massive front page news articles proclaiming that the profit motive doesn't work and use this example as evidence that government needed to take over.

  • dc

    they did this in CT also - some newly renovated area where they put in lowes & target, the state modified the intersections but then part of their deal was they got to control the lights and not the town - lo and behold, I've ran that thing so many times its not even funny, its like the length of the yellow varies by what time of day it is - sometimes its literally about a third of a second! you think ah I have plenty of time then boom its changed and you've already stepped on your gas, now its time to either run the light or stand on your brakes and hope you might stop before your entire car is over the line!

    I called the town to complain about the length of the yellow and they said sorry nothing we can do about it, CT DoT is all over it.

  • marque2

    It is a private enterprise out of Arizona that sets up the lights and issues the tickets. They then revenue share with city and county governments.

    It is a mix of greed of the politicians and the rent seeking corporations.

  • Doug1as2

    When my community proposed red-light cameras, I made sure that every member of the town council had both electronic and physical copies of the several studies that indicate the displacement effects of accidents to just outside the "intersection", news reports of when agents from nearly all of the major vendors have been arrested for corruption, and a prediction that the number of accidents, there severity, and the cost of such accidents in the intersections *and their approaches* would be greater after the cameras then before.

    I also alerted every local media reporter who wrote on the subject to go out and measure the yellow-light timing (easy with a video camera and video editing system) before any work had been done, so that they had a baseline for after installation of the cameras.

    The other schemes that the installers use are:
    A: to try to re-purpose the existing inductive-loop traffic detectors that were installed for dynamic actuation of the traffic light and just add a little time delay in order to pretend that they are detecting vehicles passing the stop-line during the red cycle.
    B: not accounting for average human reaction time and illumination time in what counts as "yellow" and "red". Many of the LED conversion yellow and red lights take a substantial fraction of a second to achieve visible light, yet somehow we are held liable for violations of light *signals* that we could not possible see let alone react to.

  • obloodyhell

    This has been going on for DECADES -- more than 10 years ago, the following article was published in The Weekly Standard, a DC area newspaper.,. It is long (5 parts) but a well-researched, excellent read:

    ======================================
    Inside the District's Red Lights
    ======================================

    The most critical point it makes, I believe, is that if SAFETY is your prime object, then TICKETS do not increase it. The one thing that consistently increases safety is to INCREASE THE POST-YELLOW INTERVAL DELAY.

    That is, there's a brief time there when lights in BOTH directions are red. That is the "post-yellow interval delay".

    So... RIGHT -- "The thing which increases safety the most be DAMNED, we want MORE MONEY."

    POS &&#%^#$$^&^&$%^ local governments. >:-/

  • obloodyhell

    No, they just want to be the tyrants.

  • MNHawk

    Yet another government that forgot who it works for. I think it goes back to government workers unionization. That creates an us vs. them environment in which We the People are "them."

  • Ron H.

    "POS &&#%^#$$^&^&$%^ local governments. >:-/"

    No argument there, but it would seem that increased revenue and safety aren't mutually exclusive. Shortening yellow light interval and lengthening post yellow light interval would enhance both.

  • rashed

    Great review. Aaron Pelly asked two interesting questions you haven’t answered yet. About the lens chatter and using
    the camera with glasses. I’d love to hear your thoughts on both. I have the camera along with the 28 & 35. I think
    the chattering is a tad annoying but I’m hoping there might be a firmware fix for that. Is that possible?

  • jcwconsult

    Authorizing the deliberate mis-engineering of the lights with too-short yellows is one of, if not THE, most cynical and improper actions ever taken by a state DOT to increase ticket revenue, often at the expense of reducing safety.

    Red light cameras need to be banned in Florida to remove the financial incentives to mis-engineer lights for ticket profits.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association