An Analysis of Red Light Running, Part 2

As an update to an earlier post (An Analysis of Red Light Running), some new information has come to my attention to bolster the arguments made in that post.

Red Light Cam Fails To Improve Safety

Red Light Cam Fails To Improve Safety


According to this study by the Texas Transportation Institute, dangerous right angle accidents do not occur until an average of nine seconds after the signal changes from yellow to red. This is a contrast to the fact that about 77% of red light tickets are issued for violations within the first second, a relatively harmless but frequent occurrence. This agrees with other data that shows that increasing the yellow light time by 1 second can reduce violations by 50-80%. When a Georgia law took effect in January that added 1 second to the yellow light time, it resulted in a drop in violations of 70-80%. Our original post maintains that cameras are ineffective at stopping late violators – those who run the red light many seconds into the red light. These people simply aren’t paying attention, and no camera is going to change that fact.

According to TheNewspaper.com in this article, just 8% of Fullerton, California’s citations occurred more than 5 seconds into the red light. Fullerton’s data also show that the number of tickets issued does not decline over time as a result of changing driver behavior.

Again, this is a perfect example where an engineering study probably would have recommended extending the yellow times which would have dropped violations tremendously, and eliminated any need for – and revenue from – cameras. Of course, cities and other entities rarely wish to order studies that will cut down their revenue.

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 23, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    More evidence of something we fully believed to be true – revenue over efficacy.


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