Light-timing a crucial issue
By MIKE MCGUIRE, Palm Coast
March 6, 2012 12:05 AM
In regard to a recent letter http://www.news-journalonline.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2012/02/21/if-its-really-about-safety.html about delaying the green to promote safety at intersections, especially where there are red-light cameras, there are already "all-red" periods being used at many intersections, although they are usually only one second or so.
Some 20 years ago, rules were changed to permit governments to reduce yellow-light timing in order to provide more green-light time and promote traffic flow. It became apparent quickly that this was a safety hazard. Without this extra time, opposing traffic was more likely to be in the intersection at the same time.
The decision by traffic management in many cases was to "give back" some of the shortened yellow for use in a short "all-red" phase. While this "all-red" did enhance safety, you still had the "pass though" traffic either having to jam on their brakes, or go through on red. This explains the increased rear-end accidents at red-light camera intersections.
In addition, the cities and their accomplices from the camera vendors are very happy to have "all red" because it replaces yellow light times, and thus there are still plenty of needless violations. Although camera vendors will tell you that longer yellow lights have little effect on the number of signal violations, when Georgia enacted legislation that required an extra second of yellow lights (above the minimum) at camera intersections, the camera vendors fled the state.
The writer's point about the "T-bone" crashes is a good one. The average right-angle collision takes place more than five seconds after the light has changed; the average red-light camera ticket is given out to a violation of less than two seconds after the light has changed. The lack of correlation is obvious to anyone who does not look at the cameras as anything but a cash cow.
McGuire is an activist with the National Motorists Association
C 386 871-4901