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Italian Red Lights Rigged With Short Yellow Light

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the decent-pellet-gun-might-help dept.

The Courts 353

suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from Ars Technica which brings to mind the importance of auditable code for hardware used in law enforcement: "It's no secret that red light cameras are often used to generate more ticket revenue for the cities that implement them, but a scam has been uncovered in Italy that has led to one arrest and 108 investigations over traffic systems being rigged to stop sooner for the sole purpose of ticketing more motorists."

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353 comments

Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747475)

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Absolutely Free of Charge

Niggerbuntu is Free Software, and available to you free of charge, as in free beer or free stuffs you can get from looting. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. The freedom to run, copy, steal, distribute, share, change the software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Free software as in free beer!

Niggerbuntu is an ancient Nigger word, meaning "humanity to monkeys". Niggerbuntu also means "I am what I am because of how apes behave". The Niggerbuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Niggerbuntu to the software world. The dictator Bokassa described Niggerbuntu in the following way: "A subhuman with Niggerbuntu is open and available to others (like a white bitch you're ready to fsck), affirming of others, does not feel threatened by the fact that others species are more intelligent than we are, for it has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that it belongs to the great monkey specie." We chose the name Niggerbuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and looting that is at the heart of the open source movement.

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747533)

I was under the impression that niggers were too dumb to operate computers; does Niggerbuntu help alleviate this problem?

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747557)

Yep, it's an OS so easy even niggers can use it.

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748243)

And it's just fun to say, isn't it? Nnnnnnniggabuntu! BOOYAHHHHH

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747959)

Seriously, do you have nothing better to do with your time? Please, get a life, or at least some therapy. I hate feeding trolls, particularly such an unimaginative one, but really? Grow the fuck up or move to some backwoods where you can circle jerk with your KKK friends.

I'm at a loss to understand why slashdot does have kind of filter for this kind of post. I know that it's all about the free exchange of ideas, but this shit serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Troll)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748175)

i lol'd...but i am surprised you made it all the way from encyclopedia dramatica to /.

Re:Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748361)

I went straight from Fucked Farrakhan v6.03 to Orgasmic Obama v15.5 and noticed that my Niggerbuntu has become a huge resource hog, plus the Entitlement Bug never got fixed, the fucking OS promised Change and Hope but instead it keeps draining resources from the entire network and flushing them down the shitter.

News Flash! (2, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747485)

This just in: Water is wet!

Re:News Flash! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747631)

Wait... what? Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that we breathe air! I refuse to live in your reality!

Re:News Flash! (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748003)

um, are you implying that this isn't news because all traffic signals are rigged with short yellow lights?

assuming that this is a common practice, the fact that those responsible for rigging the traffic lights are being prosecuted is still newsworthy. it's not everyday that 63 municipal police, 39 municipal government officials, and 7 government contractors are accused of conspiracy and corruption.

if nothing, this case has brought international media attention to a potentially widespread problem--and not just with rigged lights but all traffic camera systems. if journalists don't report on such stories, then the issue would probably be ignored rather than bringing traffic cameras under public scrutiny.

and if you know that your hometown has rigged traffic cameras, then maybe you should report the problem to the proper authorities or file a lawsuit against the city. acting as if government corruption should just be accepted (or ignored) is precisely the kind of public complacency that allows corrupt officials to remain in power.

Re:News Flash! (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748147)

it's not everyday that 63 municipal police, 39 municipal government officials, and 7 government contractors are accused of conspiracy and corruption.

I guess you've never heard of Chicago.

Re:News Flash! (4, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748311)

ok, you got me there. =P

actually, i stayed in Melrose Park, a western suburb of Chicago, one summer with a tattoo artist friend of mine. it was a predominantly Italian town that, as i understand, was run by (or at the very least had close ties to) the mob. needless to say, the local police were a bit corrupt. the cops also didn't seem to mind that we were smoking pot or doing lines of coke in front of them since my friend and his family were well known in the community.

coincidentally, a few weeks before i left their entire police department was raided by SWAT teams and the FBI. apparently the police chief had been busted for--supposedly--embezzling over a hundred million dollars (how he did that as a police chief of a small suburb i have no clue). but still, that did make the news and wasn't something that happened everyday.

Re:News Flash! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748263)

All Italians are corrupt. Thats why this isn't news. Its in their blood to cheat and steal by any means. Just have a look at their football team. *ducks*

Nothing new (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747497)

Wow, almost as bad [wikipedia.org] as the U.S. military intelligence [wikipedia.org] oh, wait. [wikipedia.org]

And who knew that the U.S., as of 2005, has a National Clandestine Service [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nothing new (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747551)

Even worse, your first link is tagged as "this article is incomplete"...

Re:Nothing new (1, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747645)

That's exactly what I thought when I saw it and wondered about the information regarding the Italian govenment's ties to its equivalent of Hollywood [guardian.co.uk] [disclaimer: link is not necessarily trying to make my point, I couldn't find a better one] and its placement of entertainment-related personnel into their government(Hmm, sound familiar? [slashdot.org] ).

Re:Nothing new (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747921)

Hmm, mods are bitch-ass faggots tonight. Waste a couple more on this one, wontcha?

Goddamn pussies. Mods gotta be from bizzarro universe. [slashdot.org]

I need a hard fucking! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747509)

19 year old female looking for a black man to pop my cherry. Must be at least 13 inches long and 10 inches around. Please post if you are interested, but no pencil dick white boys, please.

Re:I need a hard fucking! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747559)

Hi my name is Mandingo.

Re:I need a hard fucking! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747729)

I need a picture of your penis before I agree. Link?

Re:I need a hard fucking! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748151)

http://www.tube8.com/search.html?q=Mandingo [tube8.com]

How abount a bunch of video of my work.

Re:I need a hard fucking! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748345)

I can help you. I am 13 inches long and 10 inches around. However, because of this small stature, my penis is extremely small. However, I am willing and able to assist you with your extreme midget fetish.

Our government can be trusted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747515)

Now go give your dna because it will help stop criminals, and you will be more patriotic.

So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747535)

They change yellow timing all the time in my city for just that purpose. By the way, Italy has the most beautiful women in the world.

Re:So? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747659)

I used to think this but I visited Italy 2 years ago (after a 10 year previous visit) and saw a disturbing trend... women were getting fatter and not taking care of themselves. During the same trip I spent considerable time in Germany. I must say the German women were in better shape and took care of their appearance better.

I am a native born Italian, BTW.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747727)

I'll bet the Italian women are happier and more fun to ... to socialize with.

Well here in Georgia (5, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747549)

the lights near me which were changed to camera enforced had their yellow reduced the minimum allowed by the law.

The formula for this is pretty swift, http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/sgn_int/App02.htm [transportation.org]

It is very common to see people lock down when it goes yellow so approaching either of the two I go through does require extra caution. The fortunate application is that they did concentrate on those crossings with the most amount of accidents from people running red lights. They have not applied them to intersections for leaving or entering an interstate where the rule seems to be five cars on red.

Re:Well here in Georgia (5, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747637)

Too bad that them reducing the yellow will probably make the intersection more dangerous.

Re:Well here in Georgia (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747849)

It does.

This isn't news. Some cities in the US have been doing this for a while now, where the yellow light ends up going from 4 seconds to 2 seconds. I've seen seen one camera intersection have -no- yellow light. This means, you have to look at the walk/don't walk sign and stop at the light (while the light is green) if the don't walk part is flashing.

Most red light cameras are outsourced to private companies which get a cut of the red light violation revenue, so its pretty much matter of course to try to shorten the yellow light as much as possible.

Re:Well here in Georgia (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747919)

Some cities? I'd say it's more than that. There's a lot of places that cheap out on giving adequate yellow time.

But I have seen some other areas do a thing which I thought was odd at first, but makes sense. That is they have a one to two second 4 way red between swapping the roads that are given the green. It's helpful for clearing an intersection where there's a lot of left turn traffic.

It would also be nice if minimum yellow time could be put into federal law. That way people would have some kind of recourse for places that aren't currently playing fair. (In some areas, the red-light cams are being used like the old fashoined and sneakily located speed traps. Out of towners get caught by yellows that are way way too short.)

Re:Well here in Georgia (2, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747853)

Too true. Or everyone could drive like the crazies do here in Miami. Ignore any color light and just drive. Seriously, this city has the worst problem with running red lights, and moving here from VA I've noticed it's mainly because of the light cycles, and timing. Not even 1s between light changes in the intersection, and the amber light is drastically reduced compared to what I've seen anywhere in VA, including the DC area.
There aren't even any red light cameras and cops don't give a shit. So who knows why the DOT is so inept here?

Technically it shouldn't... (4, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747897)

reducing the yellow will probably make the intersection more dangerous.

From a theoretical point of view, it shouldn't make the intersection more dangerous, it should just increase the ticket revenue.

According to traffic laws across lots of countries, a yellow light doesn't "push the accelerator and try to make it through as fast as possible".
A yellow light means, "try stopping if you can, because the light will turn red soon - if you can't stop, only then you should cross" - with a yellow light you're supposed to stop anyway (just like with a red one) if you still have enough braking distance to stop.

If a driver sees a yellow light from far away, no matter how short the duration of this light, still has enough time and braking distance to come to a stop before crossing.

If a driver sees a yellow light really near, right before crossing, that means that the drivers hasn't the necessary braking distance to stop before crossing. Therefore the driver should be allowed to cross.
A normal traffic light stays yellow long enough to let the driver reach the other side of the crossing.
A yellow light shortened way too much means that the driver can't escape the ticket : the light turned yellow too late, at a moment when the car can't be stoped before crossing and is forced to continue. But as the light turns red too fast, the car still hasn't reached the other side of the crossing and can be ticketed by the camera.

The other traffic light won't turn green simultaneously (there's always some safety margin). Thus no car will come crash sideways against the tricked driver.

So in theory, there's no additional risk of collision, only the risk that the driver won't be able to make through the crossing before the red light in case the driver couldn't brake in time.

But, yes, in practice, lots of drivers will probably slam their accelerator even harder, and this increase in speed will probably bring more accidents.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (5, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748095)

What's true in theory is entirely irrelevant when in reality shorter yellows have been found to be more dangerous.

But they're also more profitable, so I guess that's a win for the state.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (1)

LunarCrisis (966179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748207)

In this case I guess it's more dangerous because people are used to having a longer yellow light, so it turns red before they expect it to.

I wonder whether it would still be more dangerous if they made every yellow light shorter. Would people actually start to stop for them?

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748275)

No it's more dangerous because people over compensate for the yellow they've seen be shorter and the camera they know is there.

And hence they slam on the brakes when it isn't in fact safe to do so, and the guy behind rear ends them.

Yes that is entirely the fault of the guy behind following too close (plus assuming the other guy would go through the yellow because he clearly would have to jam on the brakes to stop in time, which isn't what you are supposed to do since it's "too close to stop safely" - which is still the guy behinds fault since he rear ended someone who wasn't driving backwards).

Short yellows and red light camera's increase the number of rear end collisions at intersections. Of course trading more read end collisions for fewer t-bone collisions is usually a reasonable trade off. Shortening the yellow is clearly just revenue raising, and will increase the number of collisions with I would expect no significant reduction in the number of "ran red light collisions" over just adding the red light camera.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748303)

I think the increased accident rate has more to do with people getting rear-ended because they break too hard in order to avoid red light cameras.
Also, is there any part of having a short amber period that makes the crossings more safe, or does it just cut out half a second of green light?

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748107)

If people know there's a red light camera they're more likely to try to stop when it's too late, causing to slam on their breaks, leading to more rear end collisions.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (5, Interesting)

uncqual (836337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748329)

I think the problem is that people try to stop more quickly than is prudent in fear of getting nailed by the camera and the result is an increase in rear end collisions from tailgaters behind them or skidding out of control into other cars/objects.

Although, of course, one should not tailgate the car in front of them, they have no control over the car behind them. At times when someone is tailgating me in heavy traffic, I've made a decision to not stop at a yellow light that I could have stopped at. The reason being, I felt that given normal signal timing, if I didn't stop, I would still enter the intersection on the yellow but if I did stop, I would get rear ended. I placed my obligation to avoid an accident higher than the slight risk of a "fast yellow" set to the theoretically shortest possible timing and confident that if a cop happened to be watching, he might nail the guy behind me instead of me (as, the second guy entering on a red is somehow "more guilty" IMHO). If I know there's a red light camera at the intersection, sorry, I assume that the yellow is as short as possible and I stop even if it increases the risk of being rear ended (his insurance company pays for my car repairs, he doesn't pay for the red light ticket). In fact, I had a couple of close calls (guy behind me smoking squealing tires, skidding etc. while I stopped safely behind the limit line without fanfare) at a local intersection that I drive through regularly -- and was annoyed when I read in the paper much later that the cameras had been turned off at that intersection for over a year!

When someone is tailgating you in heavy traffic, you have few options to stopping that behavior quickly - changing lanes isn't always an option, slowing down may just make the problem worse if you're approaching a signal which may turn yellow suddenly since the distance between yourself and the following car - i.e. the margin of safety - is reduced (because the gap is shorter and you're going slower so actually stop more quickly) if the tailgater doesn't take heed of your speed change before you decide to stop for a yellow.

Even with all this care, twice I've been rear ended by a tailgater when I stopped quickly - once for a yellow light, another time for another reason. One of these times, three cars behind me ended up hitting each other also. The car behind me was lighter, more fragile, and had a lower bumper than my car (his was a small Fiat I think) so his impact on my bumper just scuffed the underside of my bumper cover but his bumper, grill, lights, and hood were seriously trashed. (After determining I had no damage I cared about, the officer noted that there was only room for three cars on the standard accident report he had to fill out so, unless I needed the report for my uses, he would just leave me off and I could go on my way -- I always wondered how the guy behind me explained to his insurance company how his car had thousands of dollars of damage and the car he hit didn't even exist on the accident report).

Stopping "as quickly as you can" is just a bad idea unless it's necessary and safe.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748391)

Where I live (Plano, TX) they've blanketed red light cameras across the entire city. Sure, T-Bone blown red light accidents have gone down, but whiplash due to getting rear ended because the driver behind you had no intention of stopping has shot up. Seeing as I ride a motorcycle a lot, it's actually just as dangerous now as it was before. I just get the joyful thought of being tossed out in to the intersection by a driver not paying attention or not concerned about the cost of a red light ticket. Goodie.

Re:Technically it shouldn't... (1)

The FNP (1177715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748437)

Ok, but how about we try a real-life scenario. More than one car in a lane. If the driver in front knows that the yellow is shortened, and he covers the brake while approaching the intersection in order to stop if it turns. And it does. And the driver behind him isn't prepared for this, because the light was GREEN.

I don't know about where you live, but here I know the timing of all the lights I use reguarly. I could see the above situation happening to me one day if they fscked up the current timing system.

Re:Well here in Georgia (2, Insightful)

phosphorylate this (1412807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747987)

Umm, corrupt Italian police break the law, circumventing safety and endangering lives by deliberately increasing fines for profit. Non-corrupt police notice and fix the problem.

- This article may not provide the police bashing people are after here folks.

Re:Well here in Georgia (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747995)

There are a number of studies out that show decreasing the yellow light period does in fact increase the number of rear end collisions.

Re:Well here in Georgia (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747895)

I would think the safer thing to do would be to at least be consistent with yellow light length.

While red and green lights vary wildly around town, and of course are unpredictable due to traffic-tripped intersections, I take it for granted that all the lights in MY town have the same length for a yellow light.

or maybe it just "feels" that way because they're timed correctly. Thinking on this I'd be surprised if the lights on the faster roads (45 etc) are as short as on the residential (25) ones. But none of them "feel" too short or long.

This is at least what, the 6th story we've seen on cities jacking the yellow lights below the legal limit. Would be nice if there were more than a hand-slapping to be handed out for this. Giving out tickets with "revenue enhancement" as the goal, under the flag of "safety", makes me want to whip out the 2nd amendment.

Re:Well here in Georgia (5, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748143)

It is very common to see people lock down when it goes yellow so approaching either of the two I go through does require extra caution.

The auto insurance companies have consistently lobbied against red light ticket cameras for precisely this reason. They are invariably set to shorter yellows to maximize ticket revenue which results in more lock downs and rear end collisions as drivers slam on the brakes with little or no warning at the last second to avoid a ticket. Traffic cameras are about getting more revenue for the city operating them NOT traffic safety.

They should have an indicator of time left on (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748195)

traffic lights. Whether that means to have a big single-digit countdown clock (for last 10 seconds, usuable for any color light) or simply start blinking at a faster and faster rate last 10 seconds right before it changes (again, any color light).

It would also help with conserving gas, so from farther away you can adjust your speed by being given info on what that light will be 300ft down the road.

Re:They should have an indicator of time left on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748441)

Yeah, it's just insane that traffic lights don't have more visible time cues. I end up using the timers on the pedestrian signals for just that reason.

It's actually illegal for them to add timers to traffic lights under DOT rules. Which is simply batshit nuts.

This isn't a completely original scam (5, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747615)

Hacking Italian traffic lights for financial gain has been thought of before. The Italian Job [imdb.com]

Re:This isn't a completely original scam (0, Redundant)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747711)

Unfortunately for you, although the first part of the movie was in Italy, that part of the movie was in Los Angeles.

Re:This isn't a completely original scam (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747765)

In the 1969 movie, which the grand-parent linked to, that part of the movie was set in Turin.

Re:This isn't a completely original scam (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747911)

Hang on, lads; I've got a great idea.

nigger dicks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747651)

nigger dicks nigger dicks nigger dicks

Re:nigger dicks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747747)

So you have two cocks on your ass and one in your mouth. What a fucking trooper. Remeber to post those goatse look alike pics.

Your Rights Offline (1, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747653)

Local Authorities in the US have been doing this for years; just no one's been caught rigging.

whine... (3, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747665)

The headline case may (or may not) be true, but the FA continues on to whine randomly about traffic lights and speed cameras in general.

I know many people consider a yellow light to mean "floor it", and think running a red light is not a big deal, but please, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy when you get caught doing it.

Traffic laws by and large exist for good reasons: You're driving around an extremely dangerous machine at high speeds, and rules are necessary to reduce the carnage.

Re:whine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747771)

I know many people consider a yellow light to mean "floor it", and think running a red light is not a big deal, but please, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy when you get caught doing it.

I agree. It definitely means "floor it" where I live (New Zealand). Some people here still think that Yellow lights are just a warning that it's going to be red soon, although the official rule is that Yellow means Stop, with the only exception being if it's too late to do so. The police here almost never charge people for running yellow lights, but I wish they would.

I drive sometimes but spend most of my time as a pedestrian. When crossing a 4 lane road in the rush-hour, I can nearly always guarantee that at least one car will still be racing through the red lights a full second after I've been given a pedestrian cross sign... and that usually means the light's been red for at least 2 seconds. We don't have many red light cameras here yet (we have lots of speed cameras), but I'd enjoy it if we got them. I don't care if bad drivers have to pay more fines.

Re:whine... (3, Insightful)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747851)

Actually I got one of those camera tickets just last year. I exited the freeway, merged between a large commercial truck and another car, and passed through an intersection (all within around 150 feet of travel). click, click, please deposit $200+points on your license.

There was no way to see that the truck in front of me was running a yellow light, I couldn't even see the light. The judge disagreed (even after he reviewed the video), case closed, thanks for playing.

I don't expect anyone's sympathy over it, but I thought I'd share.

The headline case may (or may not) be true, but the FA continues on to whine randomly about traffic lights and speed cameras in general.

I know many people consider a yellow light to mean "floor it", and think running a red light is not a big deal, but please, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy when you get caught doing it.

Re:whine... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747891)

Then you were following too close.

Re:whine... (1, Troll)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747963)

The general thought is that you should maintain enough distance behind tall vehicles like that so that you'll have adequate reaction time. If you don't have time to create sufficient separation when approaching an intersection then just assume it's red and start to stop until you can verify that the light is actually green. Far better to stop on a green than go on a red.

Re:whine... (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748043)

If you don't have time to create sufficient separation when approaching an intersection then just assume it's red and start to stop until you can verify that the light is actually green.

Unfortunately there are cars behind you, and if their drivers can see the [green] light (because they are farther and their view is not obstructed) they'd have no reason to think that you will be slowing down, and so they might slam right into you.

Re:whine... (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748109)

Unfortunately there are cars behind you, and if their drivers can see the [green] light (because they are farther and their view is not obstructed) they'd have no reason to think that you will be slowing down, and so they might slam right into you.

That's why there's a such thing as brake lights. A car in front of you can stop at any time, and any driver that hits a car simply because they stopped or slowed down when they weren't expecting it is simply on borrowed time.

Re:whine... (2, Interesting)

mundanetechnomancer (1343739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748233)

why not rely on brakelights to prevent rear end accidents? because if i need to slow down, i downshift, you don't see brakelights unless i'm slowing down REALLY fast

Re:whine... (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748301)

If you're coasting to a stop, not using any brakes, then you're deceleration rate is REALLY slow. Slow enough that a drive behind you can simply notice that he's closing the distance and adjust accordingly. The bottom line is that when driving, you HAVE to watch the car in front of you. If they stop at an unexpected location for whatever reason - they can't see the traffic light, their tire blew out, their engine started smoking, a kid walked in front of their car, etc, etc. The possible reasons are endless. The drive behind them has a complete responsibility to stop as well. If they fail to stop because they didn't notice, then they're guilty of incompetence. If they fail to stop because they don't have time, then they're guilty of not maintaining sufficient separation.

Re:whine... (1)

mundanetechnomancer (1343739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748403)

I agree that it's completely the driver's responsibility to respond to any changes around them, i was just pointing out that you can't even rely on brakelights. with a manual transmission, deceleration can be done very quickly without using the brake, only applying the brake for the last second or two to stop completely

Re:whine... (2, Interesting)

uncqual (836337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748367)

And that general strategy is what got me rear ended once! A truck had cut in front of me blocking the signal, so when I could again see the signal it was yellow and I had no idea how long it had been so. I didn't enter the intersection - cost the insurance company of the guy behind me a bunch of money! In fact, I could have easily made it into the intersection before the light turned red, but I didn't want to risk a "running red" ticket so made a split second decision to risk an accident because of a tailgater behind me instead.

Re:whine... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748439)

As you said though, it was his insurance that foot the bill, because the driver behind you was at fault. You did the safe thing and he didn't. That's about the best you can do. On the bright side, rear collisions are typically FAR less likely to produce serious injuries compared to the front/side impacts often produced at an intersection.

The worst accident I've ever been in was at an intersection. A guy in one turning lane couldn't see the oncoming traffic on the other side due to a semi being stopped in the other turning lane (the side I was approaching on) and he decided to just turn across and risk it. Legal action if there was no oncoming traffic, but that assumption on his part totaled both cars. Luckily no one had anything more than some scrapes and minor cuts, but part of that was him not having a passenger. Looking at how badly the passenger (impacted) side of his car was damaged, there would have been some SERIOUS injuries if that seat hadn't been empty.

Always make sure that the light is DEFINITELY green, and if turning, that there is no oncoming traffic, before crossing any intersection.

Far away from home (5, Informative)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747675)

At least we know that it doesn't happen in America [motorists.org] . Except in about 6 cities or so.

Re:Far away from home (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747815)

At least we know that it doesn't happen in America [motorists.org] . Except in about 6 cities or so.

A lot more than six. Manipulating the traffic control system for fun and profit is becoming a very common activity for cash-strapped localities. It's not just lights: speed limits are dicked around with everywhere for the same reason. The NHTSA has pointed out that the politically-motivated abuse of the nations' traffic systems is responsible for some number of deaths and injuries every year.

Re:Far away from home (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748041)

-------->  (sarcasm)
    O
   /|\   <--- (you)
    |
   / \

Re:Far away from home (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748203)

All of them being the ones near my house then.

Re:Far away from home (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748319)

Notice that in America setting the yellow times to bellow the legal requirements causes some headache since they get challenged and have to, shock horror, refund some fines.

In Italy the police investigate and someone is under arrest while they keep investigating some more.

Seriously, you know your legal/police system is a joke, when Italy beats you in "rule of law" matters.

Did anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747783)

Did anyone else expect this article to be about prostitution in Italy? You disappoint me, slashdot.

Re:Did anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747829)

Yes, and I feared I was woefully unhip for my apparent ignorance of the meaning of "yellow light" and how it might be "short."

Re:Did anyone else... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747931)

I feared I was woefully unhip for my apparent ignorance of the meaning of "yellow light" and how it might be "short."

Something to do with midget lap-dancers, I suspect.

Running a scam in Italy (1, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747793)

Those Mafia is getting outrageous!!!

Pay attention to traffic laws???? (0, Redundant)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747901)

Since when has ANY European cities' drivers paid attention to traffic laws? LOL!!! (no diff in LA or NYC!)
The last time I was there, it was all "Hurray for me, and fsck YOU!

Re:Pay attention to traffic laws???? (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748031)

Well I am glad I live in Portland [katu.com] . 90% of people let you merge, most people stop before the cross walk and drunk drivers are reported pretty consistently. When I was in New York city last year it was shocking to see traffic jams because of double parking, pedestrians jumping out of the way of speeding taxis and cops who obey absolutely no traffic laws at all. At 3 AM it was bedlam with the bars letting out, the last time I saw that many speeding drunk dickheads at once it was after a Nascar race.

Re:Pay attention to traffic laws???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748141)

You should see Montreal. They do not have checkstops because the exception would be those who were not drunk.

I was driving there with my friend from Bangladesh, and he said "I LOVE DRIVING IN THIS CITY... IT'S JUST LIKE BACK HOME" because apparently the lines on the avenues are 'suggestions' rather than lanes.

Re:Pay attention to traffic laws???? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748281)

Well, be glad, and feel lucky.

Portland sounds more like the exception than the rule in this discussion!\

People will be people...get used to it.

the last time I saw that many speeding drunk dickheads at once it was after a Nascar race.

I quess you were one of the pansies protesting our "Race in Reverse' after the race to get to the restaurant.(clue: can't put the car in drive, only reverse to complete the race!)

Where's your sense of adventure?...Do you want to live forever?...Think of the children...think of the terrorists..think of the War on Drugs, etc...

Get a life!

Because you want a Nanny State, does not mean the rest of us do. Grow some balls.

This happens in the U.S. too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747907)

Popular mechanics ran an article some time ago about this happening in some U.S. cities as well. The shorter yellows have led to more accidents, since people attempt to stop short to avoid a ticket. Nothing is being done about it because the body shops are making a killing. Standard yellow light delay == 4 sec. New yellow delay == 2.3 sec.

Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747917)

I'm going to say something controversial here.

Traffic signals should be designed for safety first. Safety cameras and ticketing should be SAFETY MEASURES, not revenue measures. If a safety camera improves SAFETY at the intersection and reduces crashes, by all means go for it.

Now that I've said that, keep in mind that when you're out in public, there's no reasonable expectation of personal privacy. Traffic crashes kill over 40,000 people annually in the USA alone, and extremely little is done for actual safety.

If building fires killed as many people, building inspectors would become anal retentive and would shut down buildings for minor violations.

If terrorism killed as many people (at least one 9-11 per month), we'd probably have compulsory military service by now.

Anyone who thinks planners give a rat's ass about safety needs only to look at typical American streets:

- Roads built for much higher speeds than the speed limit--we've all seen 25 mph streets that look more like 50 mph highways.

- Intersections with extremely wide turn radii to encourage drivers to turn without looking or slowing down.

- A driver's license test that does not test actual ability to drive. In fact, the driver's license office here told me they don't administer real driving tests because the roads are too dangerous. I drove one time around a building in 1997 when I was 16, and my current license is based on having passed that test.

- Where I live, traffic signals are timed to encourage speeding and red light running. If lights turn yellow and red one block after another, drivers will "chase" the lights. And if you get continuous green lights at 15 mph over the speed limit, what do you think driver will do?

- Law enforcement indifference. They not only don't enforce traffic violations, but they're some of the most dangerous drivers. Here, a deputy ran a red light and crashed into a school bus. An at-fault driver who hit my car was not given a citation for it. A friend of mine was hit by an unlicensed and uninsured driver who was let go without a citation.

- Intersection cameras here don't record, so when you kill that pedestrian, you can say you had the green light, and you'll be driving away from that accident in no time. Even if you ran a red light, you won't get cited.

- My state is no-fault medical, so if you do cause an accident, you're off the hook for your victim's medical expenses. For that matter, if you have no insurance at all, the driver you hit better have insurance, since you're not going to be held responsible.

What do you expect from stuff like this? It's time to do something other than design intersections "so we can write lots of tickets".

Re:Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748169)

- My state is no-fault medical, so if you do cause an accident, you're off the hook for your victim's medical expenses. For that matter, if you have no insurance at all, the driver you hit better have insurance, since you're not going to be held responsible.

What state do you live in? This would be a hell of a lot more credible if you mentioned it.

No-fault medical? Off the hook? No lawyers in your state or something?

I think I'm going to have to call bullshit.

Big news (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747925)

Law enforcement agencies tweak the rules for profit.

Yawn, wake when you have something new.

Re:Big news (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748037)

That's the kind of attitude that they exploit in order to get away with this kind of behavior. No one cares enough to smack them around for it and it shows all across the government.

the real issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26747943)

The use of camera-aided traffic ticketing is just evil, definitely grounds for dumping of the incumbent party in the next local election. This kind of thing indicates that city government is working to keep its bloated payroll intact, not to serve its residents.

I think that's something that Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

Have to do this... (1)

bakedpatato (1254274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747969)

1. Shorter yellow light. 2. ??? 3. PROFIT!

Can anyone double check the government's maths? (2, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26747993)

Anyone know or have a figure on how much a city makes in red lights and how much these camera systems cost? Even without factoring in the fines that result or the increased traffic accidents this causes, is it profitable, or is this an example of bureacracy at it's finest?

In other words, is this actually a way of getting more money, or is this that the performance bonuses of department A are based entirely off of how much revenue they bring in from tickets without subtracting how much they spent. It just kind of sounds like someone was told their job was to fine as many people they could for running red lights, don't care how you do it, and they realized this was easier than actually making enforcement more efficient.

revenue sharing not legal in California (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748235)

Of course, just because something isn't legal [ocregister.com] doesn't always stop money grabbing politicians right away...

On the other hand, a little civil disobedience [ocregister.com] can pay off, if only due to public employee incompetence (surprise!)

If you've driven in Rome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748027)

you know that red lights, like all traffic laws, are treated merely as suggestions and "taken under advisement" :P

Here is is done constantly (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748061)

In Italy, it is a criminal act for cities to rig traffic lights with cameras to quick change. In the United States of Avarice, it is business as usual, and no one says boo about it.

Another Anecdote (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748077)

I live in Kansas City which was playing around with the idea of red light cameras. Of course, when the citizens started an uproar, they said "it's just a study." I know that one of the intersections I went through every day had it's light sequence shorted, to the point that the slightest hesitation or slow reaction required you to get on the brakes pretty hard.

Just 'donate' BB guns to 'needy' local youths... (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748133)

THAT will solve the problems of traffic lights of whatever color and duration, not just the shortened yellow ones, plus the cameras, plus the nighttime street lights... ...and pigeons... and neighborhood cats that suck at stealth... et al

The whole "You'll shoot your eye out" thing is really another metaphor for the *stiff learning curve* pre-teen boys (and girls?) endured proper concerning BB-Gun operations and backstop physics in my neighborhood growing up.
Every child would learn a lot about accountability and responsibility and marksmanship owning a BB-Gun as a youth. (Especially when they get caught shooting something they are not supposed to.... you learn VERY fast how to shoot and scoot. It was only in High School we thought to wear lab safety glasses and actually have live-fire neighborhood BB-Gun 'wars' ...yes, this was during the pre-paintball gun era of the 1980's)
-While these stories are true, you have to realize this is also /sarcasm... we live in a totally different world/society today and such BB-Gun toting youths would now be hunted down as terrorists. (But they WOULD draw *a lot* of attention to the traffic cameras and make the newspaper... thus solving the problem...)

San Diego Busted in 2001 (2, Interesting)

markw365 (185614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748135)

I think the crooks running the city of San Diego originated this. They had the redlight cameras shut down in 2001 for doing it. They put them at intersections where there was a high percentage of people that would pay the tickets and not at "Dangerous" intersections. Then they tweaked the timing on the lights and started raking in the dough. Read about it here. [thenewspaper.com]

Very common in Chandigarh, India (1)

schauhan (1070004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748251)

Traffic cops keep coming up with tricks to maximize number of fines and commuters have to actively watch out.

One trick which I feel is a crime is to turn off traffic lights for a intersection completely with no traffic cops in sight.

Commuters think they've got a free day and race through only to find a whole army of cops just before the next intersection fining everyone for over speeding.

They're risking lives to collect traffic fines.

Are we surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748293)

Pavlov would say that actions that are rewarded are more like to be repeated. If you make money at something aren't you more likely to do it in the future? There is a line between punishing law breakers and making money. If shorting yellow lights makes the intersection more dangerous then I guess we are seeing a increase in the "making money" mentality. Though when the government does it the cynical might see it more like armed robbery. To bad we have no way of directly raising the legal minimum time for yellow lights.

Take the incentive away (3, Insightful)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748353)

So long as individuals & companies that design the camera systems get a percentage of the fines there will always be an incentive for them to rig the system by fair means or foul.

Ah well, nothing new in the world of business & politics then.

If you can't afford real eyeballs to catch speeder (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748373)

then they're not much of a problem to begin with. Sorry, this red-light traffic camera thing, in all countries, is a scam waiting to be abused by corrupt officials. QED Flash 'em the bird.

Exquisite defense (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748397)

"Arrighetti is a genius whom the whole world envies,"

What an exquisite and eloquent defense.

Proud to be Italian.

Recent Trip Revals Amber Light Shannanagins (1)

realperseus (594176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26748417)

My wife and I recently took a US cross-country trip. I can (and will if needed) attest under oath that the 2 cities we traveled through had tampered with their amber light timing: Gallup New Mexico (short duration amber light under 3 seconds) and Winslow Arizona (amber light controlled by local enforcement authorities).

While cruising Gallup (Route 66 part of town) looking for food and accommodations I had noticed the timing of the amber was definitely under 3 seconds at camera enforced intersections where the speed limit was 40 MPH. Local residences actually toot their horn to warn us as we approached a "tampered" intersection just as the lamp turned amber.

In Winslow Arizona we had stopped to get out picture at the "corner" [standinonthecorner.com] . Then we attempted to leave this town only to get caught in the shortest yellow lamped intersection I have ever seen in my life! There were 2 Winslow Arizona enforcement cars at the intersection at the time. I attempted to make a left turn onto the I-40 on ramp and was caught "looking up at red". Happened like this... see green... approach intersection... signal left turn via turn signal... lamp still green... start turning left... glance up and lamp is RED. I looked the the rear view mirror and saw an enforcement car turning onto on-ramp behind me with lights on. I pulled over and explained exactly what happened. I will say that the officer was a gentleman while taking my license, reg, and insurance back to his car to "run them". When he came back I was informed that I was getting a "warning" (Thank God), and to drive safe. I wanted to vent but knew better. What a scam!

Yes, this crap does go on in America.. .

Keep the municipalities honest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26748431)

The problem with government, any government, is this: If you make a mistake, they charge you and fine you and you have to pay penalties, interest, and interest on the interest and you have to bow to them and worship them. But if they make a mistake, then it's as if, oh well, it happens. The solution is to enact laws that force the government to behave, or else it gets penalties much bigger than the ones it dishes out for others without a care in the world.
 
I hope the people responsible for this stoplight thing get in BIG HUGE trouble. The yellow light serves a purpose. It lets the driver make the choice between stopping at the limit line or proceeding across the intersection. If, when the light turns yellow, the driver is close enough to the intersection that a normal stop (not slamming on the brakes but stopping normally) is impossible, the driver should proceed across the intersection. If the driver is far enough away to make such a stop, he should stop. This is determined by the driver.
 
There are huge problems with shortening the yellow. A common one is that you're not close enough to simply proceed across the intersection, but you're also not far enough to make a normal stop. You have to choose between slamming on your brakes to stop, risking a rear-end collision, or slamming on your gas to make it across in time. This is not ticket revenue we're talking about. This endangers people and is an outrage.
 
To solve this problem, there need to be two laws.
 
  Law #1
The length of the yellow is determined by a formula. The formula takes into account:

. The speed limit at that location
. The measured stopping distance of a heavy vehicle moving at that speed, when applying the brakes as in normal driving circumstances.
. The distance across the intersection.
 
The formula would state that the length of the yellow should be the time it takes for a vehicle traveling at or below the speed limit to either (a) come to a complete stop before entering the intersection when applying the brakes as in normal driving circumstances, or, (b) if he be too close to the limit line for a normal stop, enough time to travel to the limit line and then safely across the intersection without the need to speed up.
 
  Law #2
If someone gets a red-light violation ticket of any kind (police officer, traffic camera, etc) and can demonstrate that the yellow light is too short according to this formula, then the municipality responsible has to pay the driver ten times the price of the ticket, plus the driver's legal expenses, and is required to forgive all other outstanding tickets at that intersection and return the payment on all paid tickets at that intersection going back five years, plus the municipality is barred from issuing tickets at that intersection for a period of five years. That should keep these son-of-a-bitch cheating lying municipalities honest.

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