June 11, 2013 > Letter to the Editor: Who is responsible for Red Light Running?
Letter to the Editor: Who is responsible for Red Light Running?
Every few years Fremont publishes an Engineering Survey of all roadways which includes measurements of the speed of traffic. It uses data from this Survey to help establish speed limits. In the most recent Survey (2008) it lists two roadways which have identical 85th percentile speeds of 45.4 mph. Each roadway has a Red Light Camera installed on that segment of roadway. Each carries a nearly identical number of vehicles daily: 46,000.
However, at one Red Light Camera approach there is a 4.0 second yellow light while the other has a 4.5 second yellow light. It should be obvious to any traffic engineer that the one with the shorter yellow light will have a greater number of "red light runners." And sure enough, that is true. In 2012, the one with the shorter yellow recorded a monthly average of 241 straight through violations and the other only 29.
We trust our engineers to act in accordance to safety but they say they can only adhere to a policy requiring those settings, no matter the potential safety benefit. The engineers who ignore the potential safety benefit should be the ones to pay the fines now being paid by normally good and safe drivers. Let the engineers pay the fines of these nearly 2,000 motorists per year cited because of a needlessly shortened yellow light. Those responsible for much of the red light running are not necessarily the ones pictured on the photo tickets.