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Florida DOT Cuts Yellow Light Delay Ignoring Federal Guidelines, Citations Soar

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the safety-is-our-last-concern dept.

Transportation 507

New submitter zlives writes in with news that Florida's DOT changed some language in their yellow light timing regulations, leading to a decrease in the yellow delay. Especially at lights with red light cameras. "From the article: 'Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida communities, with 52.5 percent of the revenue going to the state. The rest is divided by cities, counties, and the camera companies. In 2013, the cameras are on pace to generate $120 million.' I wonder what the camera company cut is?" At least one area has promised to undo the reduction now that they have been caught.

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Citations? They need to be sued heavily (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43744617)

This has been proven to put the public at risk of property damage, of injury and of loss of life.

The people who made this decision need to be removed from office at the very least and potentially criminally prosecuted for endangerment [of a child].

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744651)

Wont someone think of the kickbacks?

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744671)

Agreed. What I want to know is why nobody has made a case that justifies their banning. I know I've certainly been in situations where I was forced to stop at a yellow I would have otherwise ran not because I wanted to beat it, but because I wasn't comfortable with the driver behind me and their capability (and willingness) to stop their car in time.

I've been in only two crashes in areas with stoplights. Both times I was rear-ended at a red. And this in places without the cameras. I can only imagine how bad it is at intersections with them.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about a year ago | (#43744745)

People (proper) have made the case but were simply rejected. The People (the people the government works for) have a far bigger influence on this than the governed.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744829)

That's an unfortunate reality, but nonetheless, it is the reality we live with these days.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43744787)

Like any government agency, police departments don't exist with the main priority of protecting and serving. Their primarily purpose is to generate revenue.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43744861)

No, their primary purpose is to assert the force of government.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745111)

Why argue, they can do both quite effectively.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (2)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about a year ago | (#43744925)

Give it a rest. You've been here long enough to realize generalizing isn't productive.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43744881)

The people who made this decision need to be removed from office at the very least and potentially criminally prosecuted for endangerment [of a child].

I bet you that they have immunity of some sort. That is the problem

If people who make such decisions knew it could really bite them in the ass (as in fines and jail), they would think twice or thrice on these decisions.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43744885)

don't drive so close behind someone

aren't you supposed to be 2-3 seconds behind someone?

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (4, Insightful)

Kasamir (1792648) | about a year ago | (#43744973)

The problem with that is in a lot of cases if you follow at a safe distance, somone will merge into your lane in between you.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745067)

Then allow a gap to form between you and the new person ahead of you. It's not uncommon for people to do that but it's not like there's going to be a constant stream of cars forcing you to stop.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745145)

Where do you live, rural Alaska? In many urban areas, if you do that you will in fact get someone merging into that space about every 5 seconds.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745009)

This doesn't protect you from being rear-ended yourself because you had to stop short for a red light and somebody is tailgating you. Moreover, if there is a significant amount of traffic, leaving 2-3 seconds of space jut means somebody's going to change lanes and cut into that space. You can only control your own car.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (5, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#43744909)

This pisses me off so much. Research studies have shown that increasing amber delays is one of the best ways to reduce both fatal and non-fatal collisions at intersections.

These municipalities think that more red light camera revenue = more money = great and glorious government. They forget two things:

- Fines, cost of repairs, and insurance premiums eat away at their citizens' bank accounts. Less money = less spending = less sales taxes, and a lot of angry, pissed off citizens.

- It's not a zero-sum game within the closed system of citizens and the government. The vendors get a lot of those fines.

So the net result is a slower economy, tax revenue is not nearly as high as expected, and vendors line their pockets.

(I recently worked for years in the highway safety sector, and one of my colleagues, a former cop, did a research paper on this subject. He started the research with a high opinion of red light cameras, but found that red light cameras had no significant effect on fatalities while significantly increasing non-fatal collisions.)

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744987)

How is the weather up there?

Down here, in the real world, those who have power are basically never punished for all the harm they cause. Punishment is only for poor unimportant people who push back.

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (3, Informative)

thoromyr (673646) | about a year ago | (#43745023)

in Missouri the state supreme court ruled against Springfield, MO for the installation and operation of red light cameras. Unfortunately, this fact is not well known and there are other operations in the state. If you get a red light camera based ticket in Missouri, don't pay it.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/30/3067.asp [thenewspaper.com]

Re:Citations? They need to be sued heavily (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year ago | (#43745123)

what about endangerment of the rest of us? killing an adult is just as bad as killing a kid

Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (5, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | about a year ago | (#43744627)

There must be sufficient time for a fully loaded semi-trailer to react to the change, and safely come to a stop, or proceed through the intersection, from at least 5mph under to 5mph over the posted speed limit, in wet road conditions, or it's not safe. These cities are risking your safety to raise more money from bogus fines.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (5, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year ago | (#43744717)

I don't think it's just Florida that's abusing traffic citations for profit. I visited Santa Cruz, CA on Sunday and parked by the beach. There were cars on either side of me, white space dividing lines and a meter right in front of the space where I parked. I got a $48 citation for "parking in a red zone". So I called them up and asked what this meant, it means "no parking at any time under any circumstances". That means the ticket was quite obviously wrong as no-parking zones don't have parking meters in them.

I don't see any way this can be an honest mistake. You can't write out a ticket saying a car parked in a no parking zone whilst standing next to a meter with plenty of time left on it.The ticket itself, their contact line and their website all make the appeals process rather prominent so apparently they get a lot of appeals. Unfortunately you only get two weeks to appeal, I'm not staying in California, I'll be on vacation next week and then I return to my home in Europe. So I'll probably just pay the $48, there's no way it makes sense to appeal a parking ticket for a rental car from the other side of the world whilst on vacation.

This whole incident leaves a bad taste, it appears to be open and unchecked corruption on the part of municipal governments. The kind of thing I expect in a banana republic, not America.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744773)

Rental cars and out of state license plates are always targeted for crap like that.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (2)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year ago | (#43745043)

Rental cars and out of state license plates are always targeted for crap like that.

True, but I've never paid a parking ticket I've received in an out-of-country rental car and it's never come back to haunt me.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#43744797)

If you don't live in the US, just don't pay the fine.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744863)

The rental car company pays it and charges it to your credit card.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745071)

Then contact your credit card company to tell them the rental car agency made bad charges to the card.

Then pay with cash next time.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745191)

It's in the rental contract, so you will lose that appeal. And good luck renting a car without a credit card for deposit. Have you actually ever RENTED a car before?

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744879)

Best to pay the fine. The owner of the car, likely a car rental company, will bill your credit card with the extra fees for ignoring the ticket.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (5, Informative)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year ago | (#43744891)

No, do pay it. Otherwise the ticket will be charged to the rental agency, who will charge your credit card for the fine and probably a large processing fee as per your rental agreement. Your $50 fine can easily become $250.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#43745133)

That is nonsense. First of all the credit card company does not get the ticket.
Secondly, if they did, they wheren not oblieged to pay it.
Third, if they would draft it from your credit card, you appeal to your credit card company, and you are done with it.
Your contract with the car rental agency is about renting cars, not about paying tickets.

re:the ticket will be charged to the rental agency (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year ago | (#43745157)

WORD -this happened to me in Italy several year ago.

I was in Florence in the summer and went through a 'no congestion' zone more than twice in 20 minutes or whatever the time limit was

apparently in the winter when tourism drops they just have people review video footage or something because 6 months later I got a $150 charge from the rental company

Since they didn't notify me I first thought it was a fraudulent charge, so I contested it at first and then they sent me the date and time of the infraction and I realized what had happened...

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#43744869)

So I'll probably just pay the $48, there's no way it makes sense to appeal a parking ticket for a rental car from the other side of the world whilst on vacation.

Somewhat like the rationale behind many patent trolls: ''Just pay the £20,000 license fee, it is not worth a £1,000,000 legal fight''. I wonder if these guys are related ?

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744875)

don't pay, does not affect you in anyway shape or form

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43744903)

NYC we have meters in no parking zones all the time. you have to read the sings.

in most of manhattan only commercial vehicles are allowed to park on the street and have to pay the meter. private cars will get towed except for sundays

in some areas you have to be a local resident to park in some places

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744941)

You can't write out a ticket saying a car parked in a no parking zone whilst standing next to a meter with plenty of time left on it.

It's illegal to park next to a red curb whether there is a meter there or not. Have fun if you ever do decide to appeal. California's one of those states that fell for the whole "privatization is good" mantra and they privatized the appeals process for infractions such as parking. Guess what? The company who hears the appeals gets a cut of all the fines they don't reverse. I'm sure that helps them be honest.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year ago | (#43745113)

It's illegal to park next to a red curb whether there is a meter there or not.

Funny, In San Francisco, there are many curbs that are 'red' but have signs posting hours when it is okay to park there. Have not been ticketed there yet.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | about a year ago | (#43744993)

This whole incident leaves a bad taste, it appears to be open and unchecked corruption on the part of municipal governments. The kind of thing I expect in a banana republic, not America.

"America" and "banana republic" are one and the same now.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745129)

Stop insulting banana republics.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#43745101)

There is no point in paying an USA parking ticket if you,ive in europe, either.
They habe no chance to get you and to pay it.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745131)

I went to college in Santa Cruz. While I was there, there was a big PR nightmare where the city threatened to arrest a man who would walk around the city dressed as a clown putting quarters in meters that were about to expire. They eventually got him to stop, but it showed how committed the city was to revenue generation through parking fines. My guess is the appeals process is a long line where you tell them your side of the story and they respond, "no."

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745171)

A couple of years ago Albuquerque was also caught shortening yellow lights. Even after lengthening them again there was enough of an outcry to finally get the damn things removed. The fact that the city was loosing money on them didn't help either. Even though a percentage goes to the state and percentage goes to the city the scumbag camera company (this case Redflex) does some creative accounting to make sure they win.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43744733)

And this is Florida, so there is a higher percentage of people with poor reaction times.

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

MaerD (954222) | about a year ago | (#43745031)

From my experience when I lived in florida, delays on lights all around were too short for the way traffic drives. In Florida it was typically a good idea to sit at a green light for a second to make sure traffic stopped moving, or you'll get creamed. In VA and NC that practice gets you honked at as soon as the light turns green.

Can Google just get self-driving cars perfected already?

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43745169)

Actually, the mass of the vehicle doesn't really significantly impact the stopping distance on reasonably level grade.

See here [gsu.edu] .

Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#43745195)

What's unsafe is drivers of fully-loaded semi-trailers who disobey the Basic Speed Law [wisegeek.com] by driving the posted speed limit in inclement conditions.

Remember, the posted speed limit assumes ideal conditions, not the one you're describing. It's unsafe to drive the posted speed limit on ice or in heavy fog, and you can be cited for it.

Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#43744629)

The #1 thing you can do to reduce collisions in an intersection is lengthen the yellow. Go ask AAA, they've got plenty of data on it.

Shit like this, and this is not the first time it happens, proves that traffic cameras are 100% NOT about safety, they are about money.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (4, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | about a year ago | (#43744675)

Absolutely.

And.. Fuck Florida.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744739)

Absolutely.

And.. Fuck Florida.

With a condom on. Because some of us care about safety.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43745091)

Because some of us care about safety.

Here's an even better reason: because you do not want that shit reproducing...

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744795)

There is a point of diminishing returns though, once the yellow light becomes too long people tend to go through it more often.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (2, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#43744843)

Well, better driver training probably has a bigger impact. The yellow phase in the UK is probably half what it is in Florida, yet the accident rate in the UK is well under half of what it is in the US despite the UK having a far greater population density and busier roads than Florida. What I've noticed in Florida is for traffic signals, green means go, yellow means go faster and red means the next six vehicles may pass through the intersection.

Drivers here are taught to observe well ahead, and also that if you see a signal ahead that's been green for a long time, anticipate that it may change very soon.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744929)

They may have shorter yellow lights but the question is how soon after the light turns red does the next light turn green?

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745165)

The "Yellow phase" - is actually a fixed 3 second Amber period in the UK.

What is key the the time from the green of one phase ending to the start of a green on the conflicting phase starting. This is known as the inter-green period. This is calculated based upon distance between the two conflict points.

The leaving amber period is fixed (3 seconds) the Red-Amber period is fixed as 2 second - hence any intergreen period that need to be longer then 5 seconds - both signals are at red (all-red) period.

Posting as anonymous, so I do not have to pass this through the press office. Yes I am a Traffic Engineer.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (2)

theRunicBard (2662581) | about a year ago | (#43744883)

Well, our nation is bankrupt both morally and literally, so that's kind of expected, don't you think?

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (1)

blue trane (110704) | about a year ago | (#43744965)

Bankrupt, when the creditors keep coming back begging to buy more bonds at even lower interest rates?

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (1)

Monoman (8745) | about a year ago | (#43744933)

Increase the yellow as well as the delay for the red lights turn green. Put in more than reasonable delays and then you can hit the blatant light runners with fines.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745085)

It's abuse of power, plain and simple. They put the cameras up, charge a fine that's easier to pay than dispute (similar to copyright settlements) & then lower the delays to catch more and more drivers pocketing the money in turn.

The real question is what can we do about it besides raising awareness?

Next one the list: speed traps.

Re:Not only citations but accidents I'm sure (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year ago | (#43745135)

In San Francisco, many (if not all) traffic lights have a 1 - 2 second delay between the red for one direction and the green for the other. This ensures that all lights are RED for a short period of time. This plus longer timing on the yellow makes for generally pretty safe light controlled intersections.

Oh Florida.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744655)

Despite other states being the fattest or the poorest or the most violent, Florida still manages to be the worst state in the union in it's own special ways. Someone link us to that .gif of Bugs Bunny cutting Florida loose from the rest of us.

Exploiting Drivers Through Physics (1)

zmaragdus (1686342) | about a year ago | (#43744669)

For stupidly small lengths of yellow lights it becomes nigh impossible to stop in time. Not only does this cause more unintentional red-light-running, it also increases wear on vehicles from hard braking. If they actually cared about safety and the environment, they'd lengthen yellow light times to give people more warning. Sadly, money drives their motivations (pun intended).

WELL FUCK IT IS FLORIDA !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744673)

Lots and lots of old people who should not be driving at all !! And being the dick state, what would you expect from the dick state ?? I hate Florida if you could not tell !! It is a terrible, terrible state with terrible, terrible people, and being next door to Alabama has nothing to do with that.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744677)

You sue red lights!

Road Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744679)

And law enforcement wonder why they aren't respected. They say they are all about safety.

It's all about the Benjamins Baby.

Re:Road Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744913)

the truth is that the majority of us will only EVER deal with police because of a traffic citation. So all the good they do which makes it possible for us to only deal with them at the traffic citation, makes it a really horrible experience to deal with and see cops as nothing more then out to get their quota.

In civilized countries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744699)

The yellow light has a countdown telling you when its going to be red. Its a monotonically decreasing number that is predictable. Unlike the random ones in random places in the USA.

Re:In civilized countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744785)

Here in the States, even when I know I can't stop, I still stare at the yellow and hope it's still yellow when my bumper crosses the line. The way we run our lights here is outrageously dangerous. especially when the technology exists to provide your described countdown. Personally, I'd like some kind of indication that it's about to go yellow as well. It may not matter up close, but to those of us who can see the light and a lot of cars up ahead, it's nice to be able to mentally prepare.

Re:In civilized countries (2)

QBasicer (781745) | about a year ago | (#43744819)

A decent indicator is usually the cross walk lights. Usually when they flash the intersection is about to go yellow. Here in Ottawa, the exact moment the hand stops flashing and goes solid red, the light turns yellow. It's even better when they have a countdown. I now instinctively check the crosswalk lights to know whether I need to be checking the light or focusing all my attention on actually driving.

Re:In civilized countries (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43744923)

yep

in NYC they even added a countdown to most walk signs so you know how much time you have

and people still run red lights

Re:In civilized countries (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year ago | (#43745167)

Yep. That is because the people are dicks.

Class action lawsuit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744703)

Doing this *endangers* the public. Switching from yellow to red too quickly for drivers to safely stop will end up causing accidents, either from slamming on their brakes or paying more attention to the light instead of the road. The point of the traffic lights is to regulate traffic flow and keep the public safe. Adjusting the time so that fewer drivers can safely stop and need to have lightning reflexes and be staring at the light instead of the road will lead to more accidents.

I smell a lawsuit brewing which will undo all the revenues. $120 million dollars? Well, now the lawyers for the next person to get run over at one of these modified lights can sue the government for on account of the timing adjustments to "increase revenue". And you just know some lawyers out there are going to advertise their services in these areas...

The trick is to prevent people thinking of this as revenue. It's indication of a problem. You don't want that indicator to go up. Perhaps state or federal law should pressure local governments to make that indicator go down.

Re:Class action lawsuit (4, Insightful)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43744765)

It does not matter. The people getting the kickbacks will loose nothing. The people paying state sales tax, or wanting their children to get educated in a good state will eat the net loss.

Re:Class action lawsuit (1)

Daas (620469) | about a year ago | (#43745095)

" or wanting their children to get educated in a good state will eat the net loss."

Isn't it Florida we're talking about here?

Re: Class action lawsuit (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744877)

There isn't any money in it for the lawyers. The State of Florida has sovereign immunity and any lawsuit over $150,000 requires legislative approval. Plus you would probably need to sue each individual municipality. The only time people get more money is when it is a case that tugs on the heart strings and swades public sentiment. Like a baby dying while in the care of a state hospital or maybe a man wrongly convicted of a crime that has served several decades in our luxurious state penetentary system.

San Diego (5, Interesting)

jtara (133429) | about a year ago | (#43744723)

San Diego (and several surrounding communities) recently discontinued it's red-light camera program, citing inflated fines to motorists with minimal payouts to the city, and and *increased* accident rate after installations of the cameras.

We also had the short-yellow problem several years ago when they were first installed, which was quicky fixed after public outcry.

Our new mayor is a jerk. But in this case, at least he is being a jerk to folks that deserve it.

So what else is new? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43744741)

The purpose of government throughout all human history, and most nations currently, is to allow the power-hungry a method to increase their power using the legal monopoly on offensive force by government.

This example, one of many, shows those "few modern" governments that don't do this...do.

Highway robbery, rent-seeking in exchange for money, rent-seeking in exchange for votes, this is the norm, not the exception.

Re:So what else is new? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744897)

You're right: every country should have no effective government, like a Somalia or what Syria is quickly sliding into. These are really archetypes of the great things that can happen without a strong government. Those idiots living in first world countries with their horribly modern medical care, the inverse of widespread famines, and atrociously low murder rates per capita just don't how good they could have it if they would just dissolve their governments.

Red Light Cameras cause pedestrian accidents (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744755)

As in you'll hit more pedestrians when they are put in:

http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/916832--red-light-cash-soars-even-higher

"Analyzing collision records, The Record studied 16 intersections before and after camera activation, for an average of almost three years of operation.

Before cameras, the intersections saw 70 people injured in 213 collisions. After cameras, the intersections saw 106 people injured in 280 collisions. Traffic stayed steady."

They're an unsafe nuisance.

Not surprising at all (1)

lfp98 (740073) | about a year ago | (#43744783)

Just one more step on the gradual transformation of traffic laws from deterrent to revenue source.

Why not just a lottery? (4, Funny)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year ago | (#43744807)

Here's a better idea that wouldn't make as many people angry. Keep long yellows and remove the redlight detection. Instead, just have a camera. It takes pictures of every plate. Each hour it plays a lottery between the plates. Whoever's plate gets pulled out gets the $138 ticket.

Sounds a bit ridiculous, but the politicians would still be getting their kick backs from the manufacturers of the lottery system, the state would still be getting income without all the bad publicity of raising taxes, and drivers would be happy not crashing into the person that slams on their brakes to stop at the light the instant it turns yellow. It's a win for everyone

Re:Why not just a lottery? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#43744873)

Its not a bit ridiculous, its full retard.

Re: Why not just a lottery? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#43745017)

This means it will be plenty successful. Thanks for point it up.

Burn karma burn! (-1, Troll)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year ago | (#43744847)

Why does this have to be about safety.

FIRST) From what I understand, the difference in light duration is because they changed the formula. Instead of using the speed that they assume people are traveling, they are now using the speed which is posted. It's not some arbitrary difference that some red-light camera company man came up with. (if this is not actually the case, someone prove me wrong).

SECOND) You only get a ticket if you enter the intersection AFTER the light has gone red.

Full disclosure, 4 years ago we here very nearly hit square on by someone blowing through a "yellow" light. Instead of killing both me and my wife (our sedan vs her lifted SUV), she just ran over our hood. If we had been 2 feet further into the intersection, I would most likely not be here typing this message. I have ZERO sympathy for people who try to beat red lights. The equations they use to determine the yellow light duration take stopping distance into account. The laws shouldn't be wrtitten just because you are going 10mph over the speed limit, and can't safely stop in time.

Stop speeding, stop running yellow lights, stop bitching.

Re:Burn karma burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745015)

Full disclosure, 4 years ago we here very nearly hit square on by someone blowing through a "yellow" light. Instead of killing both me and my wife (our sedan vs her lifted SUV), she just ran over our hood. If we had been 2 feet further into the intersection, I would most likely not be here typing this message.

So what your saying is that you were in the intersection while she had a yellow light? Sounds like you deserved it.

Re:Burn karma burn! (0)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year ago | (#43745069)

No. "Yellow" as in the light was already red, and had been green for me long enough to be halfway through the intersection.

Re: Burn karma burn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745041)

Fscking Shill.

Re: Burn karma burn! (1)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year ago | (#43745089)

Brave AC!

Good Information! (4, Insightful)

cnaumann (466328) | about a year ago | (#43744855)

Brake hard, brake often. And if you are rear-ended at an Intersection in FL, remember that the State has hundreds of millions of dollars in the pot. Sue appropriately.

It does not matter if the intersections actually has a red light cameras, nor does it matter if the length of the yellow at that particular intersection has been decreased. It is the threat that counts.

Yellow Lights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744859)

As I understand it, longer yellows do not reduce accidents. To the contrary, if they are too long, they can encourage people to speed up to beat the light instead of stopping. The result is MORE accidents and at higher speeds.

The story reads like sensationalist TV BS.

Re:Yellow Lights (1)

blue trane (110704) | about a year ago | (#43745147)

It sounds like an economic decision.

We should abandon the feudal notion that a government can only spend what it takes in. Money is created all the time for banks, create it for government services too. Then make public safety decisions without economic pressures.

Criminal investigation is needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744935)

It's been proven in multiple studies that reducing the yellow light time causes more accidents. The Florida DOT decided to increase risk to citizens in exchange for more revenue. Everyone who approved of this idea should be fired and have criminal charges brought against them.

It should _never_ be okay for the government to endanger citizens in exchange for money. That's exactly what happened here.

Since the studies show the converse is true (lengthening yellow light times leads to less accidents); shouldn't the NHTSA mandate minimum yellow light times at least?

The whole red-light-camera thing needs to go away. The temptation to abuse it is far too great, as has been demonstrated all over the US.

Sue them for the accidents then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43744949)

They should be sued for every single accident then.

Government killing people for money. (5, Interesting)

romco (61131) | about a year ago | (#43744979)

I worked as a traffic accident investigator for a few years. Part of my job was figuring out the timing of traffic lights and if they were the cause of an accident. Shortening yellow lights kills people, old people and big trucks dont stop very fast. This is the Florida government killing people for money.

The really sad part is if they were really clever they would shorten the yellow 1/2 a second but keep the whole intersection red for a 1/2 a second. That way they could rip off Floridians without killing them.

Re:Government killing people for money. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43745153)

You might know the answer to this then: isn't there such a thing as too long a yellow light delay?

degenerate (2)

mevets (322601) | about a year ago | (#43745011)

I object to the word generate used in this context. The proper verb is capture, as in:
Red light cameras captured more than 100 million in revenue....
Even the money that could even be farcically referred to as generated - the money taken from tourists - was really captured from the Florida businesses where it otherwise would have been spent.

This is why (3, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43745033)

You ALWAYS challenge a ticket. Even if it's a waste of your time and money, it's also a waste of the court's time and money.

If enough people contest their tickets, they might just create a DDoS on the system that causes it to be more expensive for the system than it's worth.

Florida (3, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43745051)

Well, how about a 2nd Amendment solution to the cameras?

Where is Sarah Palin when we need her?

Come on Sarah, this is your chance!

Commoditization of Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745077)

The incentives get very perverse very fast

In the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43745105)

At least if they tried this shit in the UK, those citations would be deemed illegal if challenged in court, for you USA folk, just challenge it in a FEDERAL court and watch them cower real quick.

Bigger issue here (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43745107)

Fines and seizures should go directly into prevention programs. As crime increases so do the programs we know work.

I live in Florida (2)

danheskett (178529) | about a year ago | (#43745149)

..and this is a well known fact before it was in the news. Local authorities tweak lights in order to generate revenue. One bad stretch of a highway (192) is timed so that if you follow the speed limit you would run a red - but just barely - everytime.

It's a bad recipe for fraud. Florida has auto-insurance system designed to wring $10k settlements out of insurers. You are driving along, and on each side is a blocker car. Ahead, a car stomps his brake just before a red light.

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