Help Us Stop Short Yellow Lights

The National Motorists Association Foundation is organizing a national grassroots effort to publicize and discourage the practice of using traffic signals with short yellow durations as revenue generators at red light ticket camera intersections. The Stop Short Yellow Lights Project will prove how widespread and pervasive this practice is.

What is the Stop Short Yellow Lights Project?

The NMA Foundation has long known that the exploitation of short yellow light times is a common practice in communities using red light ticket cameras. The Stop Short Yellow Lights Project is designed to identify and publicize the locations where the use of short yellow light timing is being used to bolster ticket camera revenue.


How Will Short Yellow Lights Be Identified?

Everyday citizens will be the engine that drives this grassroots effort.

To get involved, people near red-light camera installations will simply use a stopwatch to time the length of the yellow lights. If the yellow light duration appears to be dangerously short, the NMA Foundation will dispatch a trained, objective traffic engineer to confirm the traffic light timing.

Once confirmed, the NMA Foundation will publicize its findings and encourage local officials to take appropriate corrective action. If necessary, legal action may be taken.

What Does The Duration Of A Yellow Light Have To Do With Accident Prevention?

The positive effect of increasing the yellow light time at a troublesome intersection (an increase of one second can reduce violations by 50%) is undisputed by even the most zealous supporters of red-light cameras. Nevertheless, despite clear evidence that is unsafe to do so, several cities have been caught shortening yellow light times to increase red-light camera profits.

How Do Short Yellow Lights Increase Red-Light Camera Profits?

Properly timed yellow lights accommodate the normal perception and reaction times of drivers, as well as the time it takes to safely stop or proceed through the intersection. Deliberately shortening the yellow light duration significantly increases the number of red light violations (and intersection collisions) and thereby the number of citations and revenue are also increased, often dramatically.

Because short yellow lights lead to increased revenue, the incentive to shorten yellow light times is strong for both the red-light camera vendors and the cities that authorize the use of these devices.

What Are The Objectives Of The Stop Short Yellow Lights Project?

  • Identify locations where short yellow lights are being used at intersections employing red light ticket cameras.
  • Publicize these locations and point out dangers of using short yellow lights to boost the revenue from red light ticket cameras.
  • Promote state legislation requiring proper minimum standards for yellow light durations.
  • Eliminate the use of short yellow lights for any purpose, including revenue generation for corporate or governmental interests.

For more information on the project, please visit

Note: Please do not post results in the comments section below. There is a form on the project’s website for that purpose.

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