Cities shorten yellow lights to gain revenue on red

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by windcatcher, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. windcatcher

    windcatcher
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    This is not supposed to happen here, right?
     
  2. Jon-Marc

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    There are green lights in my area that don't hold for more 10 seconds if that. The only way you can make it through the lights is to be right there when it changes.
     
  3. carpro

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    Quote:
    Six US cities tamper with traffic cameras for profit
    March27


    Six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the amber cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. The local governments in question have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.



    Why am I not surprised? :BangHead:

    In the case of Dallas, it was tied in with a crackdown on red light busters.

    Lot's of money!!
     
  4. billwald

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    Wal-mart sells stop watches for about $7. Time the amber lights for yourselves. Report the results to the list and your local paper. In Seattle on a 30 MPH street the amber is 7 seconds, as I recall.
     
  5. The Scribe

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    That's called greed. Last time I checked that's a sin.

    They will be punished for their greed. :saint:
     
  6. windcatcher

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    I was apalled when I read these findings.... although I visit another forum regarding logistics, where such has been suspicioned for some time.

    When I think of the accidents which occur due to sudden stops:
    When I think of the severity of an accident cross wise in an intersection....often deadly:
    When I think that local officials had to have known or at least be responsible for knowing that a reasonably timed yellow warning of caution to alert motorist with variable reflexes and braking applications for completion of a safe stop....was deliberately altered just for the revenue: it saddens me deeply the disregard for life and fairness, and law....... and trust that is broken by these 'public' 'servants.'
     
  7. hillclimber1

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    Seems to me there's a huge lawsuit coming for the right crash circumstances.
     
  8. LeBuick

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    :thumbs: Sounds like a good Lawyer could assemble a class action and win if this is true...
     
  9. Alcott

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    Who are "they" that will be punished? The cities? which includes those making the complaints about the situation? The era of the gospel is more individual than that. Besides, greed is the basis of the whole thing here-- greed is what motivates drivers to keep going at the yellow light even if they know they could safely stop. And certainly it's greed that compels them to speed up, knowing the light will be red by the time they enter, as most of us probably see (if not do) on a daily basis. But because of our brainwashing that this amounts to "fudging the rules for convenience" instead of the greed that it is, there is this inclination to attack the rules themselves or the means of enforcing them.

    In the city in which I work, there is about a 2-second delay between when an E-W light goes red to when the N-S light goes green because drivers ignore the meaning of the yellow, and still there are collisions beause of running reds.
     
  10. billwald

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    >When I think of the accidents which occur due to sudden stops:

    Traffic code calls this "following to closely." There is little excuse for running into the car in front.
     
  11. windcatcher

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    Running a red light is stupid as well as breaking the law.....provided you had a yellow light on which you could have safely stopped.

    Yes, you are correct in your observation, that at some intersections the change of light from red to green is delayed .....because studies at that or similarly busy intersections have taught the civil engineers the DOT and DMV, that it is safer to delay already stopped traffic for the violations of the approaching traffic: Unfortunately, local people become 'enlightened' to these artificially delayed signals,.... or the fast short yellow, and start anticipating and jumping the signals. So, unnecessary delays of traffic by signals, actually contributes to the disrespect of the signals by some motorists. Whether this is 'greed' or not.... it certainly is reckless and thoughtless behavior on the part of impatient motorist.


    Please have patience and follow my understanding... based upon about 40 years of accident free driving which also includes 13 months of solo driving an 18 wheeler (combination) vehicle with 53 foot trailer and air brakes.

    Upon your approach to a lighted intersection, the light goes from green to yellow. Your approach was at the posted speed: You are an average, healthy individual with normal response times, no distractions, and vehicle with good brakes in proper adjustment:

    From the moment the light turns yellow..... There is the speed at which it registers in your mind, plus the time it takes to make a decision (what we consider is 'instant' still has a process of time), the time for muscle and movement response in your leg to apply the brake, the pressure with which it is applied, the response of the brakes to your application and their effectiveness against the drums etc.... to stop your vehicle... the response of wheel traction and resistance to the pavement of the road.

    Now add in variables of increased weight.... requires greater safe stopping difference usually, conditions of road..... wet roads for example decrease traction between rubber and road...increasing stopping time/distance. Now add in other likely and common variables that commonly affect even 'good alert' drivers... looking for an address, trying to maintain flow with traffic, pedestrians and other 'eye candy' for which your awareness is demanded..... for they present a potential hazard and unpredictablity to your safe transverse... a passenger in your car asking a question, a cell phone ringing.....even if you choose not to answer. All of these might 'tell' the seasoned safe driver to go a little slower....even if others around blow horns and show impatience.

    But getting back to that yellow light: From the moment it comes on and a driver is first able to respond.... to the time when it goes red..... should allow for a normally applied and safe stop with moments to spare before it turns red. If the yellow light is timed too short for a normal response and safe stop except under the most ideal circumstance.... then it is timed too short to expect it to safely control the traffic in the intersection......

    And, remember, intersections are not just for cars and trucks.... it is also for the safe crossing of pedestrians.

    Unfortunately, this article gives no details....i.e. a driver cited under a defectively timed light.... does he get the points removed from his driving record? A return of extra premium charged by his auto insurance? Is this information part of the disclosure in a accident investigation..... or dependant on a good lawyer or investigator to uncover?

    Remember..... as a motorist, you are expected to obey all traffic signs and signals... That means these signs are expected to correctly inform you. Those who regulate these signs will show you no mercy if you disobey (violate) any but the most blatant misrepresentation.



    In truck driving, I used some techniques which many motorist are unaware.
    I learned to observe the behavior of all motorist around me and be aware of their position and any signals of intention which they might give me..... like looking over their shoulder as for a clear lane to move in, giving a turn signal, showing a solid brake light..or tapping brake lights. I learned to look well ahead.... a mile or more on the open interstate and use my peripheral vision to alert me for movement on both sides of truck. Keep eyes moving side to side, near and far.... prevents tunnel vision and sudden surprises... and increases the visual field including picking up peripheral movement.

    When approaching a lighted intersection, whether city or urban highway, anticipate the possible turning of a light. An aging green light with traffic stopped at either side on red... is almost a dead give away the light will change to yellow..... anticipate and start slowing down...or at the least, don't continue to excelerate thinking you'll make it before it goes yellow.

    Know your vehicle....and its response, loaded and unloaded, and learn from variable road and weather conditions. If it should happen that a light goes yellow and one is already too near the intersection for a safe stop..... recognize that point of no return where your only safe choice is to proceed through the intersection: If there are pedestrians standing on the edge of curb, or other traffic approaching perpendicular to your path.... recognize that IF the light changes from yellow to red as you're passing through... the use of your warning signals (i.e. flashing head lights, blowing horn) may be all the warning you have to tell them your course is 'committed' to prevent them jumping into your path: Once 'committed' you have little other choice. (Remember, 'committed' doesn't mean you refused to respond to the yellow.... just that you are too close to obey it to a safe stop without entering or crossing the intersection.)

    The timing of the yellow light, with respect to the posted speed for the road.... is everything.... if its purpose is to make the intersection safer for all traffic. Its use is to control and manage traffic safely, and prevent offenses ..... not increase offenses and obtain revenue.
     
    #11 windcatcher, Apr 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2008
  12. billwald

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    After 30 years a police officer I concluded that the over the road commercial drivers are the best on the road - Canadians excepted <G>.
     
  13. just-want-peace

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    Question billwald:

    Many years ago, 50's-mid 70's mostly, it seemed to me that the semi jockeys were the safest & most courteous on the road.

    Then for a period of time - after those trucker movies that were the eighteen wheeler versions of "Hell's Angels" - they sorta became the bullies of the highway for a spell.

    Now it seems that they are back to being "the good guys" again.

    My question is, am I correct (more or less) in these observations, or have I just imagined these fllip-flops?
     
  14. carpro

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    Only on the freeway.

    In city traffic, many other drivers and and many other types of truck drivers are far superior.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    As an average driver my experience has been that they switch lanes like they are at the Indianapolis 500, push you off the road so they can switch lanes with no prior indication, drive at excessive speeds even in inclimate weather.
     
  16. windcatcher

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    If you see a truck driver driving reckless, report him to company safety. But be honest and careful with your assessment. That 1 or 2 reports may be all it takes to remove a driver from the road and employment. Most careless truck drivers get reported by other truck drivers who want the creeps and careless off the roads: Every bad truck driver, represents to the other truck drivers another black eye on the industry, an additional potential accident statistic, another example to fuel the anti-truck----got to regulate more---got to slow them down, crowd.

    BTW, if a truck driver gives a turn signal for a lane change... he doesn't do it for fun or because he likes to change lanes... he does it for the same reasons you do: he needs that lane. A turn signal is to signal intention. It is not meant to be a signal for lane competition nor for your permission. Why does he signal?...... either to get in position for an exit ramp or road split.... or because a sign requires 'all trucks over...go to the right lane' .....or because he needs to pass to maintain speed and prevent overtaking slower traffic in his lane.

    You don't like to slow down and follow slow pokes... well that truck driver resented for moving to pass, who obstructs your view, has his life on the line for the moves he makes also... and is constantly having to balance distance/speed/mileage=production for his living with the most necessary 'keep it safe'.

    That truck driver, who, the moment he turned on his signal of intention you saw but decided to excelerate into the space available for him to pull out.... or you decided to pass on the right but blamed him for not seeing you when you moved into his blind spot: That truck driver which many resent sharing the road with... wants you to be safe and he wants to be safe.... iow, it is with him constantly as he's available 24/7 to answer for the safety of himself, the care of his vehicle, and the securement of the load, stopped or moving...he wants the roads to be safe.

    For many truck drivers....you are a stranger but you represent a member of his family, or a dear friend: He is cut off. He is passed by on the right while signaling his desire to return to the right. He is challenged when merging where there should have been a space in traffic flow...by insistant motorist who have no patience to be behind his truck. He sees the "construction ahead, merge now" signs and starts planning to move over..... then watches some other motorist and truckers ignore the signs and run the lane as a passing lane and expect to merge in front of him at the last....often times granted inspite of the rudeness to him. All the while... this good truck driver thinks 'that could be my mother/father/sister/brother/ friend/ family/ child.... and instead of getting road rage.... he gets a very sad feeling that they just don't understand or else they would drive more safely and share the road. Many a driver will speak a prayer instead of a curse, when these slights occur: The road has taught a seasoned driver that behaviors become habits and bad habits lead to accidents. His position means his attention must be on the road: But he knows... from the life he leaves behind, other motorists occupy the roads with everything but driving on their mind, and a bad unexpected move on their part may involve him in an accident or others.

    Of accidents involving big trucks and motorists, roughly 75% are caused by motorist. But of all accidents involving a truck, the survival rate for motorist and passengers goes way down. Those big trucks look gigantic....tank like.....but the cab which protects the truck driver is thin metal or fiberglass and has fewer driver survival protections built in than passenger vehicles, and virtually none for a second occupant unless sitting in the jump seat (seat belt). iow, just because the truck is big doesn't mean the truck driver is as protected as you.

    BTW, Carpo, a couple of examples come to mind when I think back on city driving with a 53 foot trailer behind me: As a driver, in the city, a green light means nothing to me if the space beyond the intersection will not allow my trailer to clear the intersection. Many a motorist has pulled in front and taken the space which was available for my move forward. Blowing the horn, passing me to return in front of me, and giving me the finger does little to help me enter that intersection on green....unless I know I have enough room to clear it.

    When turning, that big ole hunk of extra baggage behind me is going to swing over the inside of a turn which my tractor wheels might clear. Any car moving into that space means we're going to connect....and I'll win (not the lawsuit...but the impact) unless I see that move in time to stop. This will usually result in his having to yield and back up, even if he didn't want to. I can out sit him anyday.... Lots of experience at loading docks and in stop and go traffic for me has taught me this patience. Also, in spite of his desires.... I have no eyes behind my truck, so if I don't have a trustworthy spotter, i cannot back out of trouble where there's other motorist or pedestrians moving around. Several times I've called the police to make sure of traffic control so I could make a safe move.

    Another thing.. that bold solid line just before the pedestrian walk......guess what? It is not a suggested stop line..... It IS the stop line.... and by that I mean the bumper of any properly stopped vehicle does not go beyond it until the intersection is clear and one is ready to move. The aproximate 3 feet in front between it and the pedestrian walk is a margin for their safety and helps all motorist approaching the intersection to view their presence. Think young child or person in wheel chair: Any one sitting on top of that line decreases the visibility for other motorist.

    To the RV crowd..... Do I think I have blind spots? Well you do too, and some of the craziest moves I've ever seen was made by RV's drivers. Part of my job at a hospital was beyond the clinical....I also transported patients to outings, placement, and consultations.... and drove an RV. Know your blind spots: This means start your observations well before making a move so you've identified what is around you and accounted for....then keep checking.
    -------------

    Some cities have characteristic driving.... The most discourteous and competitive I found in Memphis Tn..... everytime I went into or through there! My turn signal functioned like a 'dare' it seemed. Other drivers told me 'you have to take charge and start creeping over. You're bigger than they are... they'll get the message and back off.' Sometimes this is the only choice for the truck driver... but it is a risky choice and he knows it and sweats having to make it everytime others are unwilling to share the road.

    Atlanta I-285 is a nightmare: If one doesn't run with the pace, no one will acknowledge a signal to allow for a lane change. Also, when its stop and go...not uncommon, I found it comfortable to creep along in low gear with a lot of space in front: Motorist could move across to exit or to get in a trucking free lane to run faster without my fear of running them over... and I felt less tension than those poor silly ones way in front who sit and go, sit and go, almost bumping the traffic in front like packed sardines.

    For all the confusion and heavy traffic, Chicago seemed to always have the best flow. People there would consider one's turn signal and help other motorist change lanes.... and for that reason, even with delays and jams, narrow lanes and construction, I felt less tension and stress.

    Los Angeles... the stress never left me. The intersections in the industrial sections of town are old and not easily negotiated with a 53 foot trailer. On the freeways and Interstates, some of the ramps and merging lanes are not designed for the space it takes a big truck to gear up to merging speed and add to this some tight curves on ramps which means a big truck must slow down.... and the barriers which obscures the view of traffic until near the end of a merge when the commitment is too high for a change of judgement.

    -----------

    I like being at home. One year was enough of the road for me. I enjoyed it... but there is enough bad moves and discourteousy to go around... commercial drivers and personal drivers. The risk is always present: The truck driver is always on duty in spite of logging off; He performs many task which reduce the hours that he can drive for which he is NOT paid... and his pay is dependant on miles. Many think there's money to be made... well for a few, there is: But the expense of poor quality food, tourist priced sundry necessities, expense of rental or public travel... if one chooses to drop the truck for a while.... the site seeing of viewing all the billboards on the interstates which tell you what you've missed by taking the trucking route, if one has good insurance... the availability of emergency or walk-in med care where big trucks can park is virtually unheard of.... and, one hears much anti-religion, vulgar jokes, and profanity over the CB, that its hard to carryon a decent chat that connects one person to another in a lonely life..... and few churchs near truck stops to attend. Nope, I don't miss a life thatso many people are critical of and consider a nusciance than appreciate for the contribution made to their quality of life and the economy.
     
    #16 windcatcher, Apr 22, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2008
  17. Revmitchell

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    I used to drive one. I had a beverage route. No excuse for wreckless driving.
     

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