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March 22, 2011 > Letter to the editor: Extend the yellow-signal and reduce red-light violations

Letter to the editor: Extend the yellow-signal and reduce red-light violations

In November 2010, illumination of the yellow signal light on Mission Boulevard, at Mohave Drive, in South Fremont was extended from the required minimum of 4.3 seconds to 5.0 seconds; the number of motorists running a red light has fallen by more than 50 percent.

According to documents, obtained by Public Records Act requests, from the City of Fremont, there were 136 camera activations in December 2010 on Mission Boulevard at Mojave Drive - fewer than half the number reported for October. October was the last full month the yellow light was set at 4.3 seconds. December was the first full month the yellow light was reset by Caltrans to 5.0 seconds.

January activations were even lower - only 132 activations; there were 133 in February. The average number of camera activations in the 10 months prior to Caltrans resetting the yellow light was 282 per month. I expect the rate of red-light violations to remain at about half of what it has been historically.

The first two years of photo-enforcement saw significant reductions due to drivers' wariness of the new cameras but violations increased and reached a plateau over the last two years; consequently, 2010 saw only a 4 percent reduction over 2009.

There is compelling evidence here in Fremont that extending the time traffic lights remain on yellow will reduce red-light running by margins that massive ticketing has never achieved. Cities should employ this engineering strategy, if they want to reduce red-light running. Cities choosing to ignore this will expose themselves to liability.

Roger Jones
Fremont

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