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Shortening Yellow Lights Equal Wads Of Cash For Their Coffers

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On: Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 6:13PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Shortening Yellow Lights Equal Wads Of Cash For Their Coffers

According to AlterNet, some of the more enterprising and caring cities of the United States are using their rather large craniums to increase the revenues they accrue from red-light cameras. Are they placing out of work strippers around the traffic signals to distract drivers and encourage a little extra accelerator pressure? No, these bigheaded politicians have been shortening yellow lights to nab drivers with tickets at the expense of public safety

You will, I am sure, be wondering if your own city is one of the caring cities that have taken great steps toward whipping red-light-running humanity. Well, according to the National Motorists Association, these six cities have been cited as reducing the yellow light duration: Dallas, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Springfield, Missouri; Lubbock, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; and Union City, Calif. The question now is how many more might have joined the fold of the enlightened bigheads.

What is a “bighead” you may ask; well, bigheads are people who think that they are too smart for the likes of engineers or scientists, and way too smart for citizens, which makes them all puffy and full of themselves. Now don’t let the name fool you; just because they have big heads does not mean that they are full of gray matter, but more likely brown matter. . . something like manure. Bigheads tend to gather in groups sometimes called “City Commissions” These bigheads gather together to ignore facts, trample rights, and disregard common sense in their pursuit of free money from the ATMs (Automatic Ticket Machines).

Calm down, citizens; shortening yellow lights is exciting news. So what if Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association, said that "the larger issue today is that the duration of so many yellow lights has never been adequately set for optimal safety results. An increase of approximately one second can reduce the frequency of red-light running by at least 50 percent.” And so what if he added: "The kind of red light running that causes the serious broadside accidents touted by the camera companies are those where the vehicles enter the intersection three seconds or more after red."

Can we really trust engineers and people with lots of fancy schooling to decide how long yellow lights should be illuminated at different intersections? Hell No! Politicians have always made better decisions than engineers or scientists.

One Florida legislator resisted the urge to join the mass of bigheads and wants to put the brakes on the gravy train. State Representative Robert Schenck (Good Guy) says while red-light cameras provide an element of public safety, he feels, they also provide a hidden agenda. "If you work for government you know if you raise taxes people aren't going to like that, so how else are you going to generate revenue for government? You’re going to find other ways to do it, and this is a hidden tax," said Schenck. That’s why he’s introducing a bill that could put a stop to all red-light cameras throughout the state.

The standard definition of a safe yellow light is arguably hard to nail down, depending on the intersection. That is why it needs to be addressed by the experts, not the politicians. The Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices specifies a wide-ranging duration of three to six seconds. But the application is more important than the theory, which is why it should be left to the scientists to decide which goes where, according to Justin McNaull, director of state relations for the American Automobile Association.

These are only the cities that have been caught; it’s likely that this happens much more than the general public has been led to believe. Many cities avoid the bad publicity involved with shortening yellow lights by installing the cameras at intersections with inadequate yellow light times from the beginning. If you or a family member receives an unjustified red-light violation ticket, it may be worth your time to check the yellow light duration at the intersection where the ticket was given out.

Also, if you know of any city currently shortening yellow lights in your area, let everyone know by posting it in the comments of this post.


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