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November 12, 2013 > Letter to the Editor: The Yellow Light Trap in Fremont

Letter to the Editor: The Yellow Light Trap in Fremont

The red light camera at Mowry/Farwell in Fremont flashes more motorists than any of the other 100 cameras in the Bay Area - that is, for violations of the straight-through type. Not because this intersection is a magnet for aggressive drivers but because the yellow light is set one-half second shorter than what it should be. If the yellow light had been set for the normal speed of traffic and not for an arbitrarily lowered speed limit it would be 4.5 seconds long instead of just 4.0 seconds.

This missing half-second is important because two-thirds of the 2,000 tickets issued each year go to motorists being trapped by this shortened yellow lightÉ nearly $1 million per year in fines, fees, and assessments. The notion that a longer yellow just lets those marginal violators off easy has been disproven by data from other intersections where the yellow light had been extended. These violators do not adjust and continue to "run the red." These violations simply just disappear from the grid. What is especially important is that the data shows longer yellow lights also reduce the really late incursions into the intersection. The violations which occur two or more seconds after the light turns red also drop by similar percentages. These have a much greater potential for causing collisions and this is where the real safety benefit lies.

Why would any city insist on creating or maintaining policies which add to the problem and do nothing to solve it?

Roger Jones
Red Light Camera Protest Group

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