How To Turn A Red Light Camera Into A Cash Machine In Three Easy Steps

Ticket camera corporations like Redflex and American Traffic Solutions are great at extracting the most money possible from drivers in the cities that they partner with. Unfortunately for them — and fortunately for anyone who values justice — their  biggest revenue-producing tricks are starting to be exposed and gradually shut down.

Here’s how cities ensure that they scam their residents out of the most money possible — straight out of the camera corporation playbook:

1) Make sure you let the camera company choose where to place the cameras.

Ticket camera corporations are often given carte blanche when it comes to choosing where their cameras are installed. The public is told that the cameras will be placed at the most dangerous intersections, but the ticket camera company has no interest in improving safety. They do have an interest in revenue though, so the cameras always seem to end up at intersections with the most traffic. If an intersection is dangerous, but has very little traffic, the ticket camera corporation will simply refuse to place a camera there.

This is very rarely publicized because no one directly involved (the city and the camera corporation) has any incentive to bring it up. Letting a private corporation make traffic safety decisions looks bad for the city and the ticket camera corporation doesn’t want to jeopardize the extra profits.

Unless the local media is paying attention, the citizens are left completely in the dark — or worse, they only hear the propaganda pushed out by the city and the ticket camera company.

2) Shorten yellow light times or take advantage of existing short yellow lights.

Yellow light timing is often the key to reducing red light violations. According to one study, an increase of 0.5 to 1.5 seconds in yellow-light duration will decrease the frequency of red-light running by at least 50 percent. There are numerous studies showing similar results.

However, the ticket camera corporations know that high violation rates are the key to making money from red light cameras so they either shorten yellow light times or make sure to place the cameras at intersections where the yellow light time is already too short.

The city goes along with it either out of ignorance or because they want the extra money to pad their budget.

Over the past couple years, through the efforts of the National Motorists Association and the media, this trick has been discovered by the public and they have demanded changes.

For example, thanks to citizen outrage in Georgia, there was a law passed that forced a one-second increase in the duration of the yellow warning light at intersections with red light cameras. This resulted in huge drops in red light violations and prompted several cities to disband their ticket camera programs.

3) Strictly enforce right turn on red violations.

After the yellow light timing trick was exposed, the camera corporations started to focus more on another popular way to drive up revenue at ticket camera intersections — right-turn-on-red violations. Cities with ticket cameras sell the cameras to the public by explaining that they’ll help prevent right-angle crashes.  However, the majority of tickets given out inevitably end up being for minor right-turn-on-red violations.

According to the LA Times, Los Angeles officials estimated that 80% of the red light camera tickets are for right turn on red. And according to the Chicago Daily Herald, right turn on red violations have accounted for 90% of the tickets generated in several Illinois communities. These tickets are often given to drivers who actually stopped safely but were inches over the line.

Right turn on red violations have been proven to have very little effect on driver safety. In fact, a review of US Department of Transportation statistics shows that an average motorist could drive a billion miles — the distance from Earth to Jupiter and back — before being involved in an accident that resulted from a motorist making a rolling stop on a right-hand turn.

The chorus of drivers who are outraged by this camera corporation tactic is growing louder and many ticket camera cities are considering dropping right turn on red violations to appease the public.

The bottom line is that if cities installed cameras only at the most dangerous intersections, set appropriate yellow light times, and de-emphasized right-turn-on-red violations, their ticket camera program wouldn’t make enough money to survive. The cities know this and the camera corporations know this and that’s why they do the opposite.

But that’s only if their constituents let them. In each city, it’s ultimately up to the citizens to stand up for their interests and say no to the cameras.

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88 Responses to “How To Turn A Red Light Camera Into A Cash Machine In Three Easy Steps”

  1. Randy100 says:

    I like this site. They throw around so many numbers you can believe whatever you like and still be right. Increase the yellow light times and reduce red light tickets by 50% and then they say 90% of red light tickets are from right on red offenses. Can anyone say there is a major conflict of numbers there?

    I have been waiting to see the list of sites where the yellow lights are below recommended levels but I have not seen any sites listed as of yet. How can there be the hundreds of locations they are saying are mistimed and they can not even print one location?

    • schwinn8 says:

      Only to those incapable of reading comprehension. The 50% value was for intersections with short-yellow timing. This is discussed as item #2. If you bothered to read before you posted, you'd see that the study is from Texas.

      A separate item #3 talks about other intersections where right-on-red tickets were handed out at a high rate. (Chicago was specifically mentioned).

      No one said they were from the same intersection. If you bothered to read before jumping on the idiot-train, you'd see they're not even from the same state. But even if you simply read the above article, you'd see that it separates them into two separate sections and numbers… and yet you want to shove them together as if they were the same intersection or study, and then complain that the stats don't line up?

      • Randy100 says:

        schwinn8, you are the one that can not read. I was right that they said they could reduce red light running by 50% if they just increased the yellow light times and also they said that 90% of the red light runner tickets in Illiinois(Not Chicago as you stated) was caused by right on red. They were two distinct statements and to be read in separate paragraphs. Even Jim Walker says that all the red light tickets in Chicago are because of too short of yellow lights. You guys keep throwing around your statistics but at least you could do is put them in a separate article and not in the same article conflicting with each other.

    • schwinn8 says:

      Before ANYONE goes through the effort of collecting data for you, why don't you tell us up-front: Do you plan to make arguments based on facts and data, or just hearsay and personal experience?

      If it's the former, then great, I'm certainly ready to throw plenty of data at you, as long as you are going to do the same. This means you actually have to look up data, and link us to it. Not just news articles, but REAL data with real numbers to work with.

      If that's too hard, then you can certainly lie back on your personal experiences and relate those stories to us. They are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but I would be happy to participate and tell you similar useless information in my daily commute, as a counterpoint to your useless information.

      I simply don't want to waste my time with your non-data stories anymore. If you want to play, then bring on the data.

      Better yet, how about you present a SINGLE point, any point you wish to argue, and give us a little data to support it? I am sure we'd be happy to provide data countering your argument immediately. To date, you haven't provided ANY valid data supporting ANY of your arguments…

      • Randy100 says:

        schwinn8, you guys are too easy to show how you make the lies and make up things. Jim Walker gave a link on youtube that had a couple of videos that supposedly was pure proof that Chicago was mistiming their 3 second yellow lights by from 2 to 6 hundreds of a second. Their proof was calculated from a low frame rate camera of approximately 15 frames per second. You could tell by the jerkiness of the cars when they were moving. Guess whay? The missing time between frames more than makes up for those missing hundreds of a second. I would bet that NMA went to great lengths to pick the video clip portion that showed the shortest yellow time because you can also bet if you looked at the video over a 1 hour period that there would be much variance of times but all within a few hundreds of a second. Time and time again this site and have printed such lies as their made up truth.

        • M1THRAND1R says:

          The train has left the station. All aboard the express to the land of neverending stories without any valid supporting data.

          Which single point do you wish to discuss?

          Do you wish to dispute and/or disagree with any (or all) of the points that this article makes?
          1) Make sure you let the camera company choose where to place the cameras.
          Can you show that the camera company never chooses where to place cameras?
          (Can someone point a case where they do?)

          2) Shorten yellow light times or take advantage of existing short yellow lights.
          Can you show that short yellow lights never occur?
          (Can someone point a case where they do occur?)

          3) Strictly enforce right turn on red violations.
          Can you show that in areas where turn on red is permitted that improper right turn on red violations never occur?
          (Can someone point a case where they do occur?)
          Your posts with little to no support are boring. It is one thing to have a difference of opinion and even have a discussion when appropriate.

          If you are going to present these opinions as facts without any valid support then you should be prepared to accept the consequences.

          I do not claim to have all knowledge, but I do not present my opinions as facts without some valid support to present.

          • Randy100 says:

            1) I do not care who chooses where cameras are placed. I would think they would be placed at busier intersections where there is a more of a chance that running a red light is more likely to cause an accident. Is this theory of mine wrong and if it is prove it?
            2) I can not guarentee that an individual intersection does not have too short of a yellow light. If it does you correct it. NMA has examples of this and many of the examples are a decade old and they still are bringing up those examples that were corrected a decade ago.
            3( no I can not prove that something never happens. To do that I would need billions of dollars to prove something does not occur. It is thousands of times cheaper to show that there is a problem somewhere if in fact there is. Why has NMA not done this except for lies they tryed to pawn off of the short yellows in Chicago.

          • schwinn8 says:

            I'm not going to dig crazy deep for tons of data, since you simply don't provide any. But to get the ball rolling:

            1) The problem is that many places using RLCs already have short yellows, so the two (busiest vs short yellow) are not separable. The places where RLC companies are targeting are cities with already-short yellow intervals.

            'nuff said there… it's not just 1 intersection, it's at least 4 (FM 1960 and West Townsend in Humble, North Freeway feeder and West Road, Interstate 10 feeder and Wayside, 59 service road and Fountainview).

            So, now it's your turn – show us DATA where yellow-changes are set to proper levels and yet there are many RLC issues for non-turning traffic and/or accident statistics.

          • Randy100 says:

            Here is a copy of a statement from a person that likes red light cameras:

            "Very interesting way to approach this situation. I used to be outraged by the cameras, thinking that they were an easy way for municipalities to shirk their responsibility of fixing the underlying cause of why people run lights: Poorly designed intersections and light timing (e.g., too short of a yellow light). After having them here for a while, however, and having never received a ticket , I find myself not caring as much, and even getting a small amount of enjoyment in seeing the little flash go off when someone blatantly runs a light."

        • GeorgeC_ says:

          Apparently you haven't learned how scams work. [problem,reaction,solution]
          1: set the speed limit artificially low, way low. [flow = safety]
          2: set your lights to the capriciously low speed limit.
          3: claim that there is a epidemic of dangerous scofflaws, and something must be done [think of the children!!!]]
          4: install a 'safety' device, that has a fundamental conflict of interest. Payment to the company should be for the reduction in accidents. It is moral hazard for the company/municipality to receive $ for each 'violation'
          5: if there is mass awareness to the scam, and people take extraordinary measure to avoid said scam [people are overly braking, leading to increased rear end collisions], modify/extend the scam-shorten the yellow, add ancillary 'safety' function-right turn on red.

          [across the pond 'average speed' cameras are coming into vogue. Where does it say the speed limit is an average speed limit? nowhere.
          Can those speed cams prove your instantaneous speed was ever in excess of the 'limit', no.]

          • Randy100 says:

            George all I can say is move to another country if you want to drive 150 mph. It will never happen in the US unless it is a dedicated area like a high speed rail. I am sure you are comfortable driving 65 mph in a residential area but if I have people driving like that on my street and the police will not correct it a high powered gun will.

          • Randall1000 says:

            Randy, you do know there was a time in US history where there were many roads with NO SPEED LIMIT. What was that? No Speed limit? In the US? Wow! not to mention in 1999 Montana created a few no speed limit roads. Granted they did repeal that law a year or 2 later because people were driving too fast. Who would have thought that you can drive too fast on a road with no speed limit. Only in America can you drive too fast on a road with no speed limit.

          • Randy100 says:

            Montana did not have a sign with the speed number limit on it but they had a law that was "reasonable and prudent". They had idiots like you that went out there and were driving at speeds like George wants to in his dreams and it makes it a lot more enforceable to set an actual number on the sign to stop sonemone driving 60 mph faster in the lane next to you.

        • schwinn8 says:

          I don't know which link you're talking about, but just going from what you're saying, a 15fps camera takes 1 frame every 67ms. I assume you typoed when you said "2 to 6 hundreds of a second" and meant to say 2-6 hundreths of a second. If that is the case, then yes, a 20-60ms delay cannot really be seen with a 15fps camera. But I doubt this the full story anyway.

          Look at it another way. Let's ask about what the timing SHOULD be. First, what's wrong with the recent changes to the ITE standards? See the report from the Office of the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives for a good explanation:

          Feel free to read through the rest of the report, as its full of useful information.

          It's funny how the text was changed from: "When the percentage of vehicles that enter on a red indication exceeds that which is locally acceptable, the yellow change interval may be lengthened until the percentage conforms to local standards." to what it is now:

          "When the percentage of vehicles that enter on a red indication exceeds that which is locally acceptable, the yellow change interval may be lengthened (or shortened) until the percentage conforms to local standards, or enforcement can be used instead."

          There are so many things wrong with these changes, and they are so transparent about their intention. But simply put, why would you SHORTEN the yellow light if vehicles are entering under red? Have the laws of physics changed since the earlier recommendations for longer times? What's the reason for the REDUCTION of the yellow change interval, when there was no problem with the existing setup? Why change it at all? How does DECREASING the yellow change interval improve red light compliance?

          If you still aren't convinced that longer yellows help improve red light compliance, then take a look at this new article as well:

  2. I noticed that some lights in Glendale, Arizona seem shorter lately. I wouldn't be surprised if cameras don't show up there.

  3. GeorgeC_ says:

    Why did you go off on a tangent? could it be
    I wouldn't feel comfortable driving 65 mph in a residential area.

    I am pretty sure jury deliberation would take all of five minutes to convict you of 3rd degree murder, or incomplete 2nd degree.

    On a two lane divided highway, I wouldn't have a 60 mph speed differential while overtaking.

    • Randy100 says:

      It probably would not be me that would be convicted. I am sure I would have a half a dozen neighbors that would all be in line.

      I like statements from you and others here. You all have your limits and they are all different. You say that you would not have a differential of 60 mph but you would complain if someone got a ticket for a 30 mph differential or even 40 mph.

      I also liked your stupid statement that longer yellow lights vertually illiminated red light running. Yes that is true along with $400+ tickets if you did get a red light. Damn you guys are either stupid or stupid enough to pass dumb statements like that off as meaningful.

      • GeorgeC_ says:

        The fine was $461 dollars before & after the yellow duration was fixed.
        So the excessive fine wasn't a response to Redflex's decreasing 'revenue'.

        Apparently, a few years prior, all the cities in California colluded when they decided that a right turn on red (california stop) was of the same significance/severity as redlight violations.
        Before that, right turn on red was not as expensive.

        Are you familiar with the term 'highway robbery'?

        • Randy100 says:

          George give us some facts. What was the speed limit? What was the timing of yellow light? What was it changed to? What was the number of tickets each month during the previous 12 months and what was the number of tickets the 12 months after the time was changed and was red light cameras in force durning those 24 months? Without the information above, no one can make any type of determination what difference the timing change did.

          I am familiar with the term red light runner that goes through an intersection on purpose seconds after it is red.

          • GeorgeC_ says:


            Do you have a short-term memory problem? The yellow light was increase by one second in November, and 92% drop of straight-through 'violations'.

            I would have added 0.75 second yellow, and 0.25 second of mutual red. But if accidents aren't reduced enough the city of Loma Linda can shift some yellow to simultaneous red.

          • schwinn8 says:

            Yes, he does have a short-term memory problem…

            What does it take to ban this guy? I gave him the benefit of the doubt… clearly that was wasted. As you guys said, he's just trolling… let's be rid of him…

          • Randy100 says:

            I say there was no change after the yellow light timing change. Prove me wrong with some actual numbers taken from the location.

  4. Jim_Walker says:

    Another city has had enough, but Redflex is resisting a straightforward request to take their products back – unless the city coughs up over a half-million dollars. Note the 92% reduction in straight ahead violations with 1.0 seconds more yellow. Note the lack of any provable safety benefits from cameras in four years. Note that the cameras at only four intersections generated $12 to $14 million dollars, with no real safety benefits. How DO you spell SCAM ? Note the pitiful lack of comprehension of the issue by the Public Works Director.

    California: Longer Yellows Nearly Eliminate Violations

    Posted: 19 Feb 2010 12:02 AM PST

    Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia succeeded last week in blocking efforts to end red light camera ticketing in Loma Linda, California. While several members of the city council expressed a desire to uproot the automated ticketing machines, Redflex insisted that could not be done unless the city paid $534,558 in early termination penalties. The council declined to take any action at its February meeting.

    The problems began after the city extended the duration of yellow lights in November. This engineering enhancement reduced the number of straight through violations to drop to near zero with the consequence that only citations for rolling right-hand turns remained. With a pricetag of $456 for each of these citations, the council had been hit with complaints about such a stiff fine for a type of violation that does not cause accidents.

    "I have received a number of complaints and emails from individuals," Councilman Ovidu Popescu said. "They teach you in business that for one complaint, that's at least ten individuals who are very upset."

    Popescu and Councilman Rhodes Rigsby led the charge to terminate the camera contract immediately because the program enraged constituents without providing any safety benefit.

    "I'm not sure the statistics when it comes to auto accidents — it doesn't show a decrease in accidents," Rigsby said. "If we're going to fine our visitors and our citizens $12 or $14 million over four years, we should at least expect a safety benefit, and I just don't see it."

    The council, on the other hand, was extremely pleased with the results of lengthening yellow lights by one second in November. The number of left-turn violations dropped 80 to 85 percent from about 240 monthly violations to about 25 or 30 a month immediately after the change. Straight through violations were reduced 92 percent.

    "Lengthening yellow lights has produced a tremendous drop in violations," Rigsby said. "The statistics from January are very telling. For four intersections, there were five straight through violations in total. That is tremendous improvement in safety. We're talking about huge success of lengthening the yellow lights… We could have had that safety with lengthening the yellow four years ago instead of installing red light cameras."

    Councilman Floyd Petersen wanted to know why city staff never tried lengthening yellow before.

    "Councilman Rigsby brought up the issue and pushed on it really hard," Petersen said. "We have a whole profession out there called traffic engineers. We pay these people a lot of money to figure out the best way to set up the lights. Where are these people? Why haven't they ever suggested lengthening the yellow light? What's the deal? They aren't being paid off by the camera people, are they?"

    City staff defended the idea of keeping the cameras and endorsed short yellows.

    "If you lengthen the yellow light, you reduce the green light," Public Works Director T. Jarb Thaipejr said. "So then I will get a call from someone who said, 'I waited so long at the red light.' The whole idea of traffic engineering is to move the traffic."

    Popescu vowed to bring early termination to a vote next month. The contract will expire on its own in December.

    • Randy100 says:

      Ok Jim so you say they had too short of a yellow light and they increased it by 1 second and it reduced the violations a lot. You may be partially right. The rest of the story is the pice of violations as you say was $456. Who in their right mind would want to violate the law anymore with that kind of fine? Your stupid and biased statements are idiotic. I am suprised that the violations did not go down more close to 100%. You and your stupid numers means nothing anymore. How many violations would it have gone down to if they had in fact removed the cameras at the same time the lengthemed the yellow? If you are stupid enough to say the violations wouild have still went down 92% I have some land in the middle of the ocean I would like to sell you.

      • Jim_Walker says:

        A typical camera program claims violation reductions of 25% to 50% from pre-camera numbers. Correct yellows tend to reduce violations by an absolute minimum of 50% and often much more than that.

        Very few people want to violate red lights on purpose. Cameras only work when various issues are set up to create technical violations, things like too short yellows. The ITE and others have shown this in several studies. If you see a camera program it is essentially certain the lights are mis-engineered.

        Randy, you claimed you would go check a Chicago light, but now say no. I have no reason to doubt the numbers on the basis of your rant.

        • Randy100 says:

          Jim, I will gladly go and check the timing of the red light cameras in question. If the video is wrong I want to see a long article permanently posted on the home page of the NMA site that states they sometimes make up things and lie to the public. I also want you to pay me $1000 for my wasted time to prove that NMA actually makes up things and lies.

          Here is a copy of a statement from a person that likes red light cameras and before they were installed believed the same things you do:
          "Very interesting way to approach this situation. I used to be outraged by the cameras, thinking that they were an easy way for municipalities to shirk their responsibility of fixing the underlying cause of why people run lights: Poorly designed intersections and light timing (e.g., too short of a yellow light). After having them here for a while, however, and having never received a ticket , I find myself not caring as much, and even getting a small amount of enjoyment in seeing the little flash go off when someone blatantly runs a light."

          • Jim_Walker says:

            I am not interested in funding your trip and I am not in a position to dictate what is on the website.

            I saw the item you quoted and that person also does not understand how cameras work to make money.

            $ome rea$on$ that $ome politician$ $upport camera$ are obviou$.

            But why would an ordinary citizen support cameras that usually return a 25% to 50% drop in pre-camera violation rates when engineering fixes will usually return 50% to 90% reductions? I am sure this is primarily due to the camera company statistics which look pretty good if you are completely ignorant of the statistics produced by correcting engineering errors.

            Once cameras are installed and people see how they work, the support often drops off pretty quickly. When put to a public vote, cameras have never survived.

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim It is because of the lies on this site exactly like those in the video that I am complaining here. The numbers that you and others throw out are usually 99% either made up or as in this case a very few cameras had yellow times that were too short and you take those exact numbers and say that the rest of the lights are all wrong also. You also do not see that if nothing was done the numbers also drop significantly. Yes if yellow lights are too short and the couple of examples you came up with the numbers will drop even more but you fix those problems. NMA does very little to fix actual problems but they would rather make up bogus videos that are complete lies.

          • Jim_Walker says:

            Randy, you simply do not understand. IF a camera program has significant revenue from straight ahead violations, then it DOES have short yellows in virtually every case. It is the only reliable way to make the cameras very profitable.

            Cameras do very little to stop drivers going through on dead red several seconds after the red starts. These are almost always drunks, very distracted drivers or thrill crazies.

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim keep telling us your lies. Ok, you have someone that runs red lights on purpose one to 3 seconds after red( everyone else has seen this except for you I guess), The guy gets a ticket. You say what the heck, he will keep getting many tickets because he always keeps going unless he sees a red light a couple of hundred feet in front of him. You may buy that explanation but I do not.

            I remember, you say that a speeding ticket does nothing about changing a person's behavior. They will keep getting a speeding ticket until they lose their license.

            I showed you a video that showed a few perons driving through a red light. Seconds after it was red. That had "nothing" to do with yellow light timing but you are on your yellow light theory and nothing will change that.

          • schwinn8 says:

            I would really like to see this video… your previous links don't work… where are they?

          • Jim_Walker says:

            That ticket MIGHT stop that guy from repeating, I agree in some cases. If they were drunk, probably not. If they were heavily distracted, such as texting, will they stop that dangerous behavior in the future? Maybe, maybe not.

            What about all the people that get revenue tickets for entering in the first few tenths of a second because the yellow was 0.5 to 1.0 seconds too short for the actual approach speeds – and would have cleared the intersection before any cross traffic could arrive, thus presented no safety problems? Thi$ i$ the purpo$e for mo$t citie$ to $upport $camera$. Get it?

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim name one intersection where a person is incapable of stopping? Did you ever think about fixing that intersection? As the example of the person I gave before said, he was able to stop at all intersections with red light cameras. It must be that those intersection yellow times are correct. I would guess that thousands of other intersections are also correct. Prove me wrong and then I will agree with you. It is not good enough for you to keep repeating that all intersections have too short of a yellow because it is not true no matter how many times you say it.

          • Jim_Walker says:

            Of course we have thought about fixing the bad intersection engineering, have you not been noting that many cities REFUSE to fix them? They WANT the timing to be bad, it is the only way they get enough straight ahead violations to make the cameras pay.

            I agree that thousands of intersections are done properly and a camera vendor has NO chance to sell their corrupt products in those places, they cannot make any money on straight ahead violations.

            Randy, you cannot read very well. No one ever said that all intersections have too short yellows. We HAVE told you how to find a lot of them however. Find cities with cameras that make any significant revenue from straight ahead violations and THOSE yellows are too short (along with perhaps some other simple and inexpensive to fix errors in the engineering). The fact that these cities REFUSE to fix the bad engineering tells any thoughtful person that those cities don't give a damn about safety, only revenue.

          • Randy100 says:

            James we might as well forget it. You keep changing your story. You say that all red light cameras are mistimed otherwise they could not afford to have them in place. Then you say that no they are only mistimed if they have a lot of straight ahead red light violations. I asked multiple times for you to name those intersections and how many of them have you received tickets at? What is the violation number of each intersection with a month to month counting is what I have been asking you for and you have not given it to me. You say you have the answers so where are they? What is the percentage of intersections with red lights are mistimed then and how did you calculate that number? Which intersections have you been fighting to fix?

          • Jim_Walker says:

            I have never had a RLC ticket. Remember, they are illegal in Michigan. — and I am VERY careful to avoid being trapped in venues that have cameras in place.

            Randy, you need a remedial reading course. This thread has pretty carefully shows there are two ways RLCs make money. Straight ahead violations ONLY make money with mistimed lights (and perhaps other simple engineering errors as well). Slow rolling right on red violations tend not to be dangerous – and there are a number of ways to trick the machinery to increase the violation levels.

            Anyone paying attention who has even minimal analysis skills can figure out that it would be possible to have correctly timed lights and make money primarily on right on red violations. Similarly, some cities exclude right on red violations by triggering the cameras only above speed X (typically about 10 -12 mph). THOSE venues have only mistimed lights to drive camera revenue. Howard County is one such place and I have investigated it in depth. Their yellows are about 1.0 seconds short on average – achieved by timing the yellows for the under-posted limits, limits typically set about 10 mph below the safety-optimum 85th percentile level.

            Many venues have both methods.

            NO ONE has to make anything up to understand and oppose the corrupt industry of red light cameras.

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim I have asked you more than a dozen times to name the intersections that have poor timing but you have failed to do that time and time again. It is easy to make up statements that hundreds of intersections have problems with short yellow lights but you fail to name one and as you say you have never seen one personally.

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim go and shoot yourself. If you think it is fine to drive 10 mph over the speed limit into an intersection that is changing to red then you are truely an idiot.

          • Jim_Walker says:

            Deends, Randy. If the posted limit is a correct 85th one, then YES it is idiotically dangerous to drive close toward the light at 10 over — you are WAY above the normal speed pattern.

            But, if the posted limit is 10 mph below the 85th, then the people driving toward the light at 10 over are among the very safest drivers on the road – the ones right at the 85th percentile speed, the ones with the very lowest risk of having any sort of accident.

            If you don't get this, it is not worth debating you further – you simply don't get it.

          • Randy100 says:

            Jim enlighten me. Name the intersections where you say that we would be a lot better off driving 10 mph over the speed limit that is set? Personally I know of no intersection where it is fine to do 10 mph over the posted limit though an intersection. What is the limit that is posted that you are talking about? 30 mph and it should be 40 mph? 35 mph and it should be 45 mph? 40 mph and it should be 50 mph? I know of no such intersection I have ever been through where I would say that it is safer to drive 10 mph over the limit. If vehicles are as you say driving that much over the limit then something should be done to slow them down. 10 mph over the limit on the highway is completely different than 10 mph over the limit in town and through an intersection.

          • Jim_Walker says:

            Randy, you are absolutely clueless about traffic safety engineering. On main roads in cities, just as on highways, you achieve the greatest safety for everyone if the posted limit is set at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions. If you don't understand this, then you don't understand one of the most basic and most proven principles in traffic safety engineering. There are many thousands of miles of main roads in cites and counties that are posted 10 or more mph below the safety-optimum 85th percentile level. They are made more dangerous by the bad limit posting than if posted correctly.

            This is the most common way that red light cameras work to produce straight ahead violations. Set the limit 10 or 12 mph too low versus the 85th percentile speed and then time the lights for the under posted limit. It will make the yellow about 1.0 seconds too short and the city can create large quantities of violations that would not happen if the lights were timed for the actual approach speed of vehicles.

            Read the booklet at
            <a href="” target=”_blank”> you might have a start to learning what you need to know in order to comment intelligently on these issues.

          • Randy100 says:

            For one thing stupid Jim, you do not even know what the 85 percentile speed is at the intersections you are referring to. Two, you do not know that 12 mph over any speed limit is too fast through an intersectiion no matter what you say. Three, you have not ansered any of my questions probably because you do not have any idea what you are talking about.

          • Jim_Walker says:

            Randy, this will be the last time I reply to you if you do not do enough research to understand the basics of traffic safety engineeing.

            Here is a true statement, and if you do not study enough to know it is true, then it is not worth replying to you any more.

            Note that I have driven frequently in Chicago and MANY posted limits are way below their safety optimum 85th percentile levels.

            If you have a main city street with an 85th percentile speed of 40 mph, this will mean that about 60% to about 75% of all the traffic will be between about 31 to 40 mph. This is the Pace, the 10 mph band with the most traffic. It is what most people would call the normal traffic flow. The VERY safest speed of travel in that location is 40 mph. This is true regardless of whether the posted limit is 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 mph.

            The safest speed of travel has NOTHING to do with the posted limit, it has to do with what the normal speeds of traffic are around you. If the limit is 40 but most people are doing 50-60, then you need to do 50-60 to be in the safest range. If the posted limit is 60 but most people are doing 40 to 50, then you need to be in that range.

            READ and if you reply with more ignorant garbage,you will get no more replies.

            Got it?

          • Randy100 says:

            Only one problem with your theory Jim. No one drives 50 to 60 mph in a 40 ,ph zone where I live. The police do not allow it and thus we have safer roads.

          • M1THRAND1R says:

            If you are going to quote other people at least get the quote correct. Otherwise your appear to be a buffoon to others.

            Your consistent point of view with little if any valid data to support your argument, while bashing and/or talking down other peoples opinions makes you appear as a Troll.

            Hopefully in the future you can accurately quote others and use valid data to help support your arguments.

          • Randy100 says:

            At least what I state as fact, I have personally witnessed many times or have facts to back it up. Jim is stating assumptions as facts and he has not peronally witnessed what he is talking about or any evidence what he is talking about or even read anywhere that many others have personally seen it.

          • M1THRAND1R says:


            Good data can do wonders for supporting your observations.

            Any valid scientific studies supporting your side of discussion can help strengthen your case.

          • Randy100 says:

            I can not help that you can not read. I said the data I was refering to was in the last post the Schwinn made. Do I have to keep reposting data multiple times?

      • schwinn8 says:

        Ok, so you claim that the tickets are working, and deterring violations. Common sense, right?

        Ignore the violation numbers then, and look at the accident rates – after all, these are supposed to be about safety, right?

        In many cases, RLCs increased accidents. So, forget about violations and money… RLCs are simply more dangerous in an intersection. It doesn't matter why… the data shows they are.

        If you want to rebut this DATA then show me your DATA.

      • schwinn8 says:

        Ok, so you claim that the tickets are working, and deterring violations. Common sense, right?

        Ignore the violation numbers then, and look at the accident rates – after all, these are supposed to be about safety, right?

        In many cases, RLCs increased accidents. So, forget about violations and money… RLCs are simply more dangerous in an intersection. It doesn't matter why… the data shows they are.

        If you want to rebut this DATA then show me your DATA.

        • Randy100 says:

          I like your stupid references to things in because they make things up even more than this site does and if the do find a problem it is usually one that is already fixed and they keep bringing those examples up decades later.

          • schwinn8 says:

            Yeah, the Newspaper lies… ok. They must make up the references at the bottom of every article they cite, too? At least THEY provide references to their statements… idiot.

            No, I didn't take out texters and cell-callers, because that didn't "suddenly change" with the installation of RLCs. Or wait, maybe they did, because they are all NMA members calling each other to tell everyone about the new RLCs there… that's it! Genius!

            Learn a little basic science before blabbering off… never mind… it's too late for you.

          • Randy100 says:

            Schwinn, we can not help your stupidity. I have read many of the articles. Many of them take the articles that they reference and misquote and exaggerate them. They also take information from one or two intersections, something you told me never to do. Many times most of their information is flat out made up or they reference a problem that was fixed decades ago. You say that cell phone use and texting numbers have not ever changed. How stupid of a statement is that? Many of your crash statistics you reference also refer to only a handful of intersections. Something you told me never to do.

          • schwinn8 says:

            I never said cell phone and texting has "not ever changed". Try reading before spewing forth your continued idiocy. I said during the time of the test, it would not have changed significantly… certainly not as significantly as other variables.

            TheNewspaper doesn't do any studies of their own, so they are at the mercy of other studies. I never said you couldn't take data from one or two intersections (again, try reading first). I said you cannot judge an entire region's accident rate by only looking at one or two intersections. Scientifically, however, you CAN perform a single-variable change at a few intersections, to see the effect. It's called a controlled experiment.

            "I read once"… well, I read a ten-times over about the exact opposite. I assume you can count, and can see how 10 data points are more valid than your one?

            Since you have zero memory retention, here's a nice short list of studies NOT DONE BY THE NMA OR THENEWSPAPER showing that RLCs cause accidents:

            From news/media sources:

            And from studies/engineering sources:

            SHOW ME YOUR DATA. Otherwise, you are henceforth proven incorrect (because I have shown NUMEROUS datapoints.)

          • Randy100 says:

            Stupid schwinn. If you look at the first of the list you will find that they proudly stated how one intersection trippled in accidnets. It went all the way up to 16 accidents in a 6 month period. Since accidents are such an infrequent event and in this case there may have been 100s of thousands of cars through the intersection, you can hardly make a scientific study of such intersections with that minimal of data. At the very least you would need the reasons for the accidents in each individual case because without as much data as possible those few of accidents really mean nothing. Again, if you bring up a study like that lousy one you would crucify me.

          • M1THRAND1R says:


            It would be nice to SHOW YOUR DATA.

          • schwinn8 says:

            First off, how about referencing what you are talking about? First of which list? I provided two lists. Apparently you are looking at the one about studies… the second list.

            So, regarding that article, it's not just about the increase, but the fact that the LAPD and pro-camera people are lying to keep the cameras running. The study by the LAPD claimed accidents went DOWN, while further investigation showed that the stats actually showed them going UP. Why are they lying?

            As for the actual statistics, you need to make up your mind. You bitched about how RLCs are about safety… the only measure there is with regard to accident rates. Yes, this was only one intersection… but there were many others involved in the study that also showed increases. 20 of 32 intersections showed increases.

            So, yes, it's limited data (there are plenty of other larger data sets in those links… again, this one is to show that they are lying when they say it's helping reduce accidents overall.) Feel free to look at larger data sets if you're not sure. That's why I provided the LIST of references.

            Speaking of references… do you have ANY yet?

          • Randy100 says:

            schwinn, I can not come up with any actual datat that you would believe.. All of the true data that shows the truth you say is made up. The only thing that you believe is your limited data studies. The study that you reference talks about slightly over half of the intsections the accidnet rate went up. What about almost the other half that went down? Lets talk about severity of accidents and dollar value of acidents. Where are your numbers on those things? Seems like you and this site do not like those numbers. There was an entire column saying how that is a bad thing to do looking at severity of accidents.

          • M1THRAND1R says:


            VALID DATA please.

          • Randy100 says:

            M1THRAND1R, first I have to say that your first link had some very bad and true statements about NMA.

            I read a good portion of your Virginia study. Very good. It was over a 7 year period. The number of rear end crashes went up. That is what is bad about statistics. They do not take into account all factors. What do you think happened to the number of people using cell phones and texting during that time and how did those type of things slant the statistics. Also how were the intersections picked. There are thousands of variables to take into account with statistics and only using some of the reasons why something happens is not good enough for you or me. So, studies can be slanted any way you want to slant them.

          • M1THRAND1R says:


            From the VADOT source

            "It is therefore not surprising that when the comprehensive crash costs for rear-end and angle crashes are monetized, the
            cameras are associated with an increase in crash costs in some jurisdictions (e.g., an annual increase of $140,883 in Arlington) and a
            net reduction in comprehensive crash costs in other jurisdictions (e.g., an annual reduction of $92,367 in Vienna). When these
            results are aggregated across all six jurisdictions, the cameras are associated with a net increase in comprehensive crash costs.
            However, when considering only injury crashes, if the three fatal angle crashes that occurred during the after period are removed
            from the analysis (the only fatalities that occurred during the study out of 1,168 injury crashes), then the cameras were associated
            with a modest reduction in the comprehensive crash cost for injury crashes only."

          • Randy100 says:

            I am repeating this comment because this system does not take edits very good and because of its importance.

            I read a good portion of your Virginia study. Very good. It was over a 7 year period. The number of rear end crashes went up. That is what is bad about statistics. They do not take into account all factors. What do you think happened to the number of people using cell phones during that time and how did those type of things slant the statistics. Also how were the intersections picked. There are thousands of variables to take into account with statistics and only using some of the reasons why something happens is not good enough for you or me. So, studies can be slanted any way you want to slant them. I went back and looked at the study again and it did not even mention cell phones. Funny before the cameras were installed there probably were very very few cell phones used pre 1998 and during the camera usage the cell phone use went up by many times not just a few percent. What then caused the rear end accidents was it cell phones or red light cameras?

          • schwinn8 says:

            Glad you read the longer study. You're right, it's certainly possible that cellphone and texting went up during that same time. Yes, there are many variables involved. However, the point is, the study still shows that RLCs DID NOT HELP. Can you do a more controlled/different study… sure… I recommend it, and so does the NMA. But no one ever does, and they still continue to massage the data to make it look "good" for RLCs.

            Therein lies the problem. The pro-RLC crowd says there is data proving the benefit, then provides no data for it.

            Then, when the anti-RLC crowd provides INDEPENDENT studies showing they are NOT helping, the pro-RLC crowd pulls in "variables" and other such arguments to discount the data.

            In the end, the point still stands… there is NO EVIDENCE showing RLCs are a good thing. If the proRLC people want to show any, we're all ears… but there is none.

            As I said before, the reason you can't find any is because there is no valid study supporting the proRLC case. Hence, it should not be used.

            Put another way, if you want to introduce a change to something, you need to prove it works, right? So far, the pro-RLC crowd has not done this, yet they lie and cheat to say that they have, and the anti-RLC crowd has gone out of their way to prove this. It's not the responsibility of the anti-RLC crowd to prove the badness of a product… it's the pro-RLC crowd's job to prove the goodness of it.

            For example, it's the car company's job to prove their cars are safe before selling them… it's not the public's job to prove they are UNSAFE after they are sold!

          • M1THRAND1R says:

            From usf about the IIHS:

            "With regard to cameras, the IIHS behavior is
            similar to the tobacco industry in that both industries
            conducted their own research via a separate
            “scientific” institute, which was used to advance a
            product (cigarettes) despite independent research
            producing contrary conclusions that raise health and
            safety concerns. This strategy is unfortunate in that
            the questionable camera research and opposition to
            independent research could tarnish the good work the
            IIHS has conducted in studying crashes. Meanwhile,
            camera vendors systematically use IIHS information
            in efforts to change state laws and advance camera

          • Randy100 says:

            M1THRAND1R, Insurance companies are all about decreasing their costs of doing business. If you decrease the cost of vehicle repair and personal injury then the insurance companies save a lot of money. You do not seem to know anything about business.

          • schwinn8 says:

            No, insurance companies are about making money. They can decrease costs AND they can increase income. The latter is easier, since they can use the license points system to charge you extra for something that may not actually increasing their costs. I don't want to get into that discussion with you, since it involves a whole list of other references that will simply confuse you… besides which, you still haven't provided any data to us, so I don't see why I should have to.

            If you want hearsay, I can tell you that on highways I am usually driving above the speed limit, as is everyone else. I had 6 speeding tickets (many years ago) and even had increased premiums because of it. Yet, I have NEVER had an accident. How is my speeding costing my insurance company more money? It's not… yet they charge me more. There's you're hearsay evidence… useless, isn't it?

          • Randy100 says:

            schwinn again I can not help your stupidity. I have homeowners insurance. Why should my premiums be more than 5 bucks because I have never had a claim. Your driving actions also affect the way others drive. If someone else sees you driivng 15 mph over the limit then they think is is fine to do also or maybe 13 mph over. Your tailgating also causes many people to speed up also because they are afraid you will run into them or pull out a gun on them because the are in your way.

          • schwinn8 says:

            If the person being tailgated is in the left lane, then they should move over. The fact that it takes tailgating, flashing high beams, etc for that person to move is irrelevant. That doesn't mean I am condoning tailgating, but there are plenty of idiots here in MA that drive like you… the law says get out of the left lane when you're not passing, so do it. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, as they say… and what's more, you are not a police officer, so it's not your job to enforce the law… just abide by it.

            As for your homeowners analogy: It's funny how you call me out on stupid statements, when that's all you've been making all along. Everything you say is based on hearsay, and my statement was intended to get you to see how idiotic that is. Yes, I don't expect that my singular experience with speeding vs accidents is worth diddly… just like EVERYTHING YOU HAVE SAID is worthless without data. In other words, you basically called yourself an idiot… nicely done!

            So, once again, show us the data, because your hearsay is worthless, as we have been saying all along, and as you, yourself, just said.

            In case you're wondering about speeding and its affect on accidents, take a look again, at the data I provided before here from the US DOT:

            And, look around you while you're at it… speed limits have been on the rise since the repeal of the NMSL… yet accident rates are down. Can't get much more data than that.

          • Randy100 says:

            Schwinn you are stupid. If a person is not passing someone fast enough in the left lane then take a big gun with you. You can either shoot yourself or the person that is slowing you down by a few seconds on your way home to get on this site.

            I will take the data in your last link. It proves that at least 14% of the accidents were a direct cause of driving too fast and that does not even include the many percent of accidents that were not initially caused by speeding but either caused the accident to be worse or made it impossible to recover from another mistake because of the excess speeding. As an example if someone drives off the edge of the road the accident percentage increases a lot if you are driving 20 mph over the limit because they have less of a chance to recover or at an intersection you have up to a second longer to react if driving slower. If someone would say that you could reduce accidents by around 25% with only minor driving changes where else could you find such benefits? What other changes could you make that would save hundreds of lives?

          • schwinn8 says:

            Why do you keep insisting on talking about speeding with intersections? Last I checked, highways don't have intersections… and we're talking about "speeding" on highways.

            You say you support studies and facts, yet when I have proven repeatedly that MA does not set speed limits based on their own rules and regulations, much less those of the MUTCD, how can you continue to be an idiot and not make the connection?

            The data I linked above says "speed too fast" was 2.9% of the accidents. Once again, you are making up numbers such as 14%.

            Show me the data proving any of your points.

            Lastly, you say "If someone would say that you could reduce accidents by around 25% with only minor driving changes"… your' right, that would be wonderful. Notice that 2.9% (as noted above) would not generate your 25% figure, nor would your 14% BS-created figure. You're not even trying to make sense!

            Show me the data.

          • Randy100 says:

            schwinn you are truely an idiot. Too fast for curves , too fast for conditons, and many other of your so called reasons are driving too fast. A week ago I was drving home out in the country at night and there was a herd of deer on the road. Because I was not driving fast I was able to stop. You and others here would have hit them and that is a fact. If you would have hit them it would have been reported as caused by deer on the road but in fact it would have been caused by driving too fast and over the speed limit. I can not help your stupidity of saying the report said only 2.9% were caused by speeding because that is not in reality what the report said.. What it meant was that 2.9% could not be explained by any additional reasons than pure speed. Even with that few of a percent that causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of accidents and injuries that are 100% preventable.

          • schwinn8 says:

            "Nowhere in your rambling, incoherent response did you come close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. We are all dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul."

            I love how you just make up number combinations from other people's studies. Obviously, you were involved with that study and know everything about it, so you have every right to simply combine numbers as you see fit.

            It's clear to me that you are right… and everyone else in the world is wrong, including myself, the NMA, TheNewspaper, numerous DOT departments, actual scientists and traffic engineers, etc. Your'e right, and everyone else is wrong, because you say so.

            I'm done. I thought that everyone was capable of learning and basic reading comprehension and logic, but it's clear that you are most certainly the dumbest person I have ever seen or heard about. I have seen a lot of dumb people on reality TV, but you are the master.

            So, I'm leaving you with your plainly incorrect, factless ramblings. Carry on with your ranting and baseless arguments. I'm done trying to get you to make sense or use any logic or data.

            I'm just happy to know that you are certainly no engineer or scientist… and now I can see why.

            I guess they were right when they said "you can't fix stupid".

  5. Jim_Walker says:

    15 states now ban scameras or have restrictions that make them impractical to use.
    AK, AR, IN, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NE, NV, NH, SC, UT, WV & WI. There are bills in process that would do the same in SD and TN, and one is about to be introduced in MO. A number of cities now ban them or have had them removed following public up-or-down votes.

    This scam is going to go away in most places, it is just a matter of time and continued effort from those who understand the nature of the scam.

    • Jim_Walker says:

      Pending reversal on appeal, it looks like another state bites the dust. Attorney Popok was right "It's of great public importance." It certainly is, and the scameras are losing.

      Updates from

      Florida Court Rules Red Light Cameras Illegal
      Posted: 23 Feb 2010 12:05 AM PST
      A Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge has ruled that red light cameras may not be legally used to issue traffic citations in the state of Florida. Judge Gerald Bagley yesterday dismissed charges against motorist Richard Masone who had received a red light camera ticket in the mail from American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The company operates the program on behalf of the city of Aventura.

      "What I'm doing is pretty much tracking the advisory opinion offered by the attorney general that tickets should be issued by a law enforcement officer who has observed the action on the part of the alleged violator running a red light," Judge Bagley ruled from the bench. "So the fact that there is not any other components, if you will, to this unmanned camera, such as an officer or any other mechanism for observing the actions of the alleged violator, I find that to be invalid. That is the reason behind my ruling. Thank you. Have a great day."

      Immediately, the attorney for the city of Aventura indicated his intention to appeal the decision. Judge Bagley agreed to stay his order pending the outcome of the appeal. A formal written order in the case is forthcoming.

      "As you can imagine because of the impact of the ruling on certain aspects of the program, we are going to be asking to take an appeal," attorney Michael S. Popok told the judge. "We are going to take an appeal directly to the Third. It's of great public importance."

      In 2005, the state attorney general ruled that Section 316.002 of the Florida Statutes makes it illegal for a municipality "to pass or to attempt to enforce any ordinance" in conflict with the provisions of the state traffic code (view ruling). Although the state code has a provision mandating that traffic tickets be issued only by a police officer who witnessed the crime, several cities have ignored the requirement and claimed their ordinances treating red light running as a code violation were not subject to state law.

      Traffic camera vendors realized that they were on unsound legal ground in Florida, but a few have seized the opportunity to dominate the market of a major state. The largest photo enforcement firm operating in the US, Australia's Redflex Traffic Systems, refused to take the gamble.

      "Legal opinions indicate that automated enforcement in the state of Florida remains illegal," Redflex explained in an Australian Securities Exchange filing ( view statement, page 6, 1.8mb PDF). "Some competitors have proceeded at risk with early programs."

      Attorney Bret Lusskin argued the successful case, having been hired by Masone to fight Aventura almost one full year ago.

      "Aventura's red light program is totally illegal, and quite unfair," Lusskin said in a statement on filing the challenge. "They should have known better. In 2005, the Florida Attorney General wrote a letter publicly advising that programs like this would be illegal. They did it anyway."

      Aventura and other cities are hoping the legislature adopts a photo enforcement industry-backed proposal that would retroactively forgive cities that implemented red light camera programs contrary to state law. The measure narrowly failed last session. Source

  6. schwinn8 says:

    Once again, a "statement" with no citation. It's not our job to find out YOUR sources. We have provided every one of ours… you have yet to provide one for any of your "statements".

    • M1THRAND1R says:

      @ Re: timer

      At least from looking at the first few lights, it does appear that the timer stops a frame or 2 before the light turns red.

      It appears that the timer always starts after the light turns yellow.

      I do not know if this will balance things out.

      I am not sure if the exact length of the yellow indicated in the video is inaccurate or just a production error. I think that the timer was added to the video of the intersection.

      @ Randy100

      it would be nice to cite some of your sources regarding

    • schwinn8 says:

      If only I could give you more than one thumbs up! :)

      Though, speaking of thumbs, it's interesting to see how Randy100 can magically restore his net-rating back to "near zero"… he must be pretty busy creating fake accounts to do so…

  7. Jim_Walker says:

    The boxes for the replies got too small to read, so here is the recent exchange and what will likely be my last response to Randy because he does NOT understand.

    (My previous comment)
    Randy, this will be the last time I reply to you if you do not do enough research to understand the basics of traffic safety engineeing.

    Here is a true statement, and if you do not study enough to know it is true, then it is not worth replying to you any more.

    Note that I have driven frequently in Chicago and MANY posted limits are way below their safety optimum 85th percentile levels.

    If you have a main city street with an 85th percentile speed of 40 mph, this will mean that about 60% to about 75% of all the traffic will be between about 31 to 40 mph. This is the Pace, the 10 mph band with the most traffic. It is what most people would call the normal traffic flow. The VERY safest speed of travel in that location is 40 mph. This is true regardless of whether the posted limit is 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 mph.

    The safest speed of travel has NOTHING to do with the posted limit, it has to do with what the normal speeds of traffic are around you. If the limit is 40 but most people are doing 50-60, then you need to do 50-60 to be in the safest range. If the posted limit is 60 but most people are doing 40 to 50, then you need to be in that range.

    READ and if you reply with more ignorant garbage,you will get no more replies.

    Got it?

    (Randy's response showing he does NOT understand.)
    Only one problem with your theory Jim. No one drives 50 to 60 mph in a 40 ,ph zone where I live. The police do not allow it and thus we have safer roads.

    People who understand traffic safety engineering know that when the 85th percentile speed
    ACTUALLY IS 40 mph per my example above, that is simply a statement of the current reality and about 60% to 75% of the traffic ACTUALLY IS in the speed range of about 31-40 mph.

    The small percentage of cars right at 40 mph ARE the safest drivers, the ones with the lowest possible crash risk and the ones in the rest of the 10 mph Pace (31-39) are also very safe. So are the drivers in about the next higher 4 or 5 mph, the ones at 41 to 44 or 45 mph – their crash risk is also very low (though it is slightly higher than the crash risk right at 40).

    All of the above analysis is true REGARDLESS of whether the posted limit is 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50. The safest speed range of travel is completely independent of the posted speed limit, whether set high or low. Safety comes from the fewest conflicts between vehicles and the smoothest traffic flow, and the low point on the curve of crash risk versus speed is at or very close to the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions.

    This is ALSO the safest point to set the posted limit <a href="” target=”_blank”> and <a href="” target=”_blank”> for the Booklet. The posted speed limit if set too high or too low will change the ACTUAL speeds of traffic by no more than 3 mph, and usually by less than 1 mph. You have to base traffic laws and enforcement procedures on the realities of the speeds that occur in that area, NOT on what you might wish to have happen, because the posted limit has almost no effect on actual travel speeds.

    Thus, IF safety and smooth traffic flow are the REAL goals for timing traffic lights, the yellows will be timed for the actual 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions. It improves safety to do this, regardless of whether the posted limits are set correctly, or not.

    NONE of this is a theory, Randy, it is the most well proven principle we have about traffic safety engineering and the science dates back at least 70 years.

    I won't be responding to another ignorant reply from Randy, he needs to go study a LOT.

    • schwinn8 says:

      In support of Jim's statement about 85-percentile speeds.

      Route 128 North of Boston. Speed limit is 55mph here. Regular traffic can be seen as travelling at least 70mph, for the most part. Traffic studies from the city show the 85th percentile as being 74mph. I even have videos and photos of a few police cars travelling at least 75mph on these roads… entrapment anyone? And, no, they weren't going to a crime scene or "running dark"… they stopped at traffic lights when they got off the highway, as if there was no longer any rush.

      Route I-93 in Boston, through the tunnels. Speed limit used to be 30mph down there before the big dig… yeah, 30mph on a friggen 4 lane divided highway with barriers in the center. Nice. Needless to say, average speed was probably around 50 with heavy traffic, and faster otherwise.

      These days, the tunnels have a speed limit of 45, I think… 6-8 lanes (3-4 lanes each way) divided by the tunnel wall. Traffic travels at about 55 or more.

      Plenty more datapoints for the many under-posted limits in MA here: //s.html

      My favorite is the data from that link on the newly constructed Route 3 (6-8 lane divided median highway):
      "The speed limit on the limited access highway sections of Route 3, from Bourne to Quincy and Burlington to New Hampshire, was set at 60 based on engineering studies in the 1960s and lowered due to the NMSL. The speed limit on Route 3 north has not been restored even though the design speed of the new highway is 70 and the 85th percentile speed is 77. The speed limit on Route 3 south was raised to 60 as a political favor to (former) House Minority Leader Fran Marini; he had asked for 65 and the engineering study found 85th percentile speeds from 65 to 71."

      Bottom line is that this state, at least, isn't following it's own rules and laws, much less those from the federal MUTCD… if they simply followed their own laws, rules, and guidelines, we'd have a place to start with.

      And yes, I have written repeatedly to the state's highway department about these roads, and I never get a response. Besides, as you can see from the quote above, apparently it takes "political favors" to have speed limits raised to the legal/correct level.

      Randy100: If you want to post ANYTHING… show us the data. It's that simple. Otherwise, just shut up.

  8. Jim_Walker says:

    As the opposition to scameras grows, the profitability declines. If the scamera vendors cannot make any money, they will have to fold their tents. Remember, the scamera vendors have no interest in greater safety and fewer violations, it is directly opposite what they need for their business model to succeed.

    Updates from

    Red Light Camera Giant Redflex Loses $8 Million From Opposition
    Posted: 25 Feb 2010 12:01 AM PST
    The number one speed camera and red light camera operator in the US today reported that its profits plunged by 32 percent in the first half of fiscal 2010, due in large measure to rising public discontent with automated enforcement. Redflex Traffic Systems told Australian shareholders that after adjusting for exchange rates, the company lost A$8 million, primarily as a result of citizen activists taking action against photo enforcement.

    "The business, particularly in the US, has become more difficult over recent years, and the results reflect the influence of a range of adverse issues and circumstances on the business, including… the rise of opposition from various groups opposed to photo enforcement, resulting in challenges to programs through citizen initiated referenda," a company statement explained. "A state wide ballot initiative [in Arizona] could result in negative impact."

    To date, citizen groups nationwide have succeeded in putting the question of photo enforcement on the ballot in nine cities. All nine voted to ban automated ticketing, with margins as high as 86 percent against the cameras (view list of cities). The largest citizen-led revolt so far is happening in the state of Arizona where the group has used a continual stream of protests, a Facebook page and other techniques to educate drivers that citations mailed from the program could be thrown away, unpaid. Only personally served notices are valid in the state. Redflex reported that the Arizona program so far has lost $4.9 million.

    "Citation payment rates remain low due to the inability to achieve acceptable payment rates from violators," the company explained. "Our push to reform the laws governing traffic enforcement with the Arizona Legislature and with the Arizona Supreme Court makes 2010 a critical year for our Company in Arizona…. Once corrective legislation is passed payment rates are expected to rise to the average historical payments rates typical for the Arizona business model."

    Discontent with photo ticketing has spread nationwide as politicians fear they may lose their jobs if they are responsible for bringing cameras into their community, although Redflex suggests the recession may also play a role.

    "The rate of new contract signings has clearly decreased since a year ago," Redflex admitted. "It is not clear at this stage whether this is driven by the economic environment, by the level of opposition, or by a slowdown in the rate of growth in the industry as a whole."

    A number of cities that use Redflex or a competitor have dropped the use of automated ticketing machines entirely in California over the past few years, including Compton, El Monte, Fairfield, Maywood, Moreno Valley, Redlands, Roseville, San Jose photo radar and Upland. Loma Linda is waiting to drop Redflex. Other states are following California's lead as Avondale, Arizona; Schaumburg, Illinois as well as Brunswick and Dalton, Georgia also canceled their programs.

    "As has been experienced over prior years, there is no guarantee that all contracts will be renewed at completion of their base contract term," a Redflex statement explained. "Some cities have decided not to continue, and we have experienced early shutdowns in two cities."

    The company's other major financial burden has been a lawsuit filed by American Traffic Solutions has cost Redflex another $1.3 million (more info). A shareholder revolt also cost the company $197,000 in expenses related to a change in the board of directors. Source

    • Jim_Walker says:

      More heat for the scameras.

      Updates from

      California, Missouri, Texas, Australia: Accuracy and Legal Problems for Speed Cameras
      Posted: 27 Feb 2010 11:44 AM PST
      The Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales, Australia has admitted to another major speed camera blunder to the Manly Daily newspaper. A faulty camera sensor on Pittwater Road in North Narrabeen produced false readings and resulted in at least 900 innocent motorists receiving A$159 tickets in the mail. Officials only investigated after receiving complaints from drivers in January that the citations being issued were bogus. After confirming the error, the RTA agreed to cancel license points and refund $143,000 worth of citations to those affected. Since 2008, the Pittwater Road cameras have generated A$2,807,578 in revenue.

      Another refund may be on the way to South San Francisco, California residents. After having been forced to refund $1.4 million worth of tickets for failing to abide by state contracting laws in its deal with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to operate red light cameras, the city fell into a second legal trap. Although ATS restarted the mailing of camera tickets on January 27, California law requires a 30-day warning period before tickets may be issued — and there was no warning period after the 27th. The state supreme court upheld a court case that found tickets issued without this warning period were void. Observers suggest the city has ignored other aspects of state law and may face additional court challenges.

      An innocent woman in Queen Creek, Missouri was falsely accused of running a red light on January 17 in St. Peters, Missouri. Connie Buckallew received the $85 citation in the mail and noticed the car in the photo did not belong to her and that she could not possibly have committed the violation. She spent hours on the phone trying to resolve the situation but found no resolution on her own. She called KTVO-Television, and after the local station reported on the situation, officials finally decided to help cancel the bogus ticket. The Missouri Department of Revenue blamed "clerical error" after accidentally registering someone else's car in Buckallew's name. Although photo enforcement supporters insist every ticket is reviewed by a trained police officer, nobody compared the driver in the ticket photograph to Buckallew's driver's license photo.

      In Harlingen, Texas, motorists are being ticketed for making right hand turns on red beyond the appropriate stop line at the intersection of Highway 77 and Ed Casey Drive. The problem, KRGV-Television reported, is that the lines are so worn out that they are not visible to drivers. Harlingen officials voted to terminate photo enforcement on March 26. Source

  9. Randy100 says:

    Yes schwinn if that report said nothing about red light cameras and mentioned only cell phones it would have positively proved that cell phones were the problem. You and NMA keep bring up your rediculaous reports. It is not my duty to bring up any because organizations like insurance companies that have all the true data plus interviews that do not show up in statistics they would have the more true data but your are stupid enough to say that they are increasing revenue off of such statistics. How? If violations do not go on your record how could insurance companies increase revenues off of such laws? No way is the answer. Their savings comes from decrease expenses of less severe accidents.

  10. Jim_Walker says:

    We are winning this fight and RLC are going to go DOWN.

    New Mexico Bans Traffic Cameras From State Roads
    Posted: 19 Mar 2010 01:02 AM PDT
    The cities of Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe have sixty days to pull down the red light cameras and speed cameras currently operating on state and federal roads in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) announced yesterday that transportation commission members unanimously decided to outlaw automated ticketing machines on thoroughfares within its jurisdiction.

    "There seems to be many competing studies out there that make confusing claims about the efficacy of the devices currently in use," State Transportation Commission Chairman Johnny Cope said in a news release. "While the true safety impact of the use of these cameras is still murky at best, one thing has become clear to the Commission — more and more New Mexico cities seem to be putting driver-generated revenues ahead of sound traffic management techniques; frankly, that concept really troubles me."

    Data from Las Cruces showed that red light cameras failed to produce any significant reduction in accidents nine months into the program (view data). This finding is consistent with a number of controlled studies conducted around the world (view studies). Despite the poor safety results, red light cameras and speed cameras have generated revenue windfall in the cities that use them. Albuquerque's program, for example, has generated tens of millions in profit.

    The new directive does not affect automated systems installed on local roads. After deciding to take a cut of the revenue from fines, the state government gave municipal authorities the ability to install cameras. State and federal roads, however, tend to have the greatest traffic volume and revenue potential. NMDOT identified eight specific intersections that would be affected under the new policy.

    "Any existing red-light cameras violating this new policy must be removed within sixty days of the implementation of the policy," Transportation Secretary Gary Giron said. "NMDOT will work with each city on this issue; shutting down and ultimately removing the devices in a timely manner."
    California: Red Light Camera Refunds Reach $3.1 Million
    Posted: 13 Mar 2010 11:29 AM PST
    Red light camera refunds will now reach $3.1 million in the city of South San Francisco, California. City officials decided this week that it had no choice but to refund tickets issued between January 28 and March 10 after being confronted by potential lawsuits over the city's failure to abide by state law.

    In January, the city admitted that every photo ticket that American Traffic Solutions (ATS) issued on its behalf between August 2009 and January 28, 2010 was invalid because the city council failed to ratify the contract. The council agreed to refund the tickets, nearly 3000 worth $446 each, and pay for the traffic schools motorists were forced to take. While generous, this move was not enough.

    ATS restarted the mailing of camera tickets on January 27, but California law requires a 30-day warning period before tickets may be issued. In the eyes of the law, the program started on the 27th — without a warning period. The state supreme court upheld a court case that found tickets issued without this warning period were void. The editor of the website pointed out that the city may have been forced into this untenable legal position by vendor reluctance to hold a warning period without being paid to do so.

    "ATS shall provide the customer [South San Francisco] with an optional one-time warning period up to 30 days in length at the outset of the program," the contract between the city and ATS stated.

    During the warning period, the vendor is responsible for all of the expenses for creating and mailing warning notices to alleged violators. ATS had already paid for a warning period in 2009, when the program was operating illegally.

    City council members may vote next month to drop the red light camera program entirely.

    "With 60 day written notice, on the first anniversary of the start date, either party shall have the option to terminate this agreement," the city's photo enforcement contract explains.

  11. Jim_Walker says:

    More wins:

    Louisiana Lawmaker Proposes Local Votes For All Traffic Camera Programs
    Posted: 11 Mar 2010 12:46 AM PST
    Local governments that use red light cameras and speed cameras would be forced put the future of these efforts to a public vote under a proposal by a team of Louisiana state lawmakers. Led by Representative Jeff Arnold (D-Algiers), a bipartisan team of seven on Monday pre-filed legislation to rein in the use of automated enforcement systems.

    Arnold's preference is to ban them outright with House Bill 160, but he prepared an alternative measure designed to be more attractive to his colleagues with close ties to local government. House Bill 159 would require a referendum before any automated ticketing machine could issue fines in a local city or parish.

    "You can't argue with giving the people a right to decide," Arnold told TheNewspaper. "I'm not making the decision, the people are. When people are given a choice on this issue — as happened in Sulphur, Louisiana — they vote over 80 percent, 'No, we don't want traffic cameras.'"

    Arnold explained that this measure would force automated ticketing advocates to live up to their own rhetoric.

    "People who support these cameras say that there's strong public support for it," Arnold said. "If you think you're right and people support these, go ahead and put it up for a vote. Let's see what it gets you…. If Lafayette votes 'yes, we like our cameras' then they can keep them, but if Orleans votes 'no,' then they're gone."

    Last year, the House by a 56-26 margin voted down an amendment to ban photo ticketing outright. Arnold explained that lawmakers did not like the idea of adding the camera ban to an unrelated piece of legislation during an abbreviated session. This time, the House will have plenty of time to consider free-standing legislation. As one of the most senior members and chairman of the powerful Commerce committee, Arnold expects his proposals will receive a fair hearing in the committee of jurisdiction.

    "I've talked to some members on the Transportation committee who voted against this last time who are now looking to vote for the bill," Arnold explained. "They're coming to the understanding that this is really a cash grab as opposed to a safety issue."

    Arnold intends to introduce two more versions of his legislation in case the ban and referendum efforts falter. One bill would ban the use of cameras on state-funded highways and roads. Another would require any tickets go before a judicial proceeding before an elected traffic judge, as opposed to an administrative hearing officer who works as an employee of the local jurisdiction.

    The Louisiana State Legislature's legislative session begins on March 29. A copy of the pre-filed House Bill 160 is available in a PDF file at the source link below.

  12. Jim_Walker says:

    And another win.

    Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down Red Light Cameras
    Posted: 03 Mar 2010 12:00 AM PST
    The supreme court of Missouri sent photo enforcement companies scrambling on Monday after it declared the red light camera administrative hearing process in the city of Springfield to be void. The high court moved with unusual speed, handing down a strongly worded, unanimous decision about one month after hearing oral arguments in the case.

    "This is a $100 case," Judge Michael A. Wolff wrote for the court. "But sometimes, it's not the money — it's the principle."

    At first glance, the court's decision appeared to be limited to a technical legal issue regarding Springfield's authority to adjudicate a photo ticket against motorist Adolph Belt in an administrative hearing. The court indicated that this was plainly not permitted under state law. Section 479.010 of the Missouri Code requires ordinance violations of this type to be heard in a circuit or municipal court. Springfield had argued that its administrative hearing officer was the first and last word on all judgments, with no appellate courts — not even the supreme court itself — having any jurisdiction over the matter.

    A closer look at the ruling shows that the high court judges expressed a dim view toward the legal arguments often cited by municipalities to justify their red light cameras programs. For example, the court made it clear that no city had any authority to treat red light violations in the same manner as a parking ticket.

    "The administrative system at issue here is created for a violation of a red light ordinance, which typically is considered a moving violation," Wolff wrote.

    That means no city in Missouri, including Kansas City and St. Louis, has the authority to issue civil violations that carry no points. A footnote explained further that charter cities have no power to act in areas limited by state law. Both premises are key rebuttals to the argument that municipalities in the state have the authority to create red light camera programs without the sanction of state law. The high court also called into question Springfield's use of short yellows.

    "Undeniably a traffic expert, Belt timed the yellow caution light at the intersection and found that it was rather quick," Wolff wrote. "He also concluded that the stoplight and the cameras needed to be synchronized."

    Another footnote cited three articles by TheNewspaper that Belt had brought to the court's attention.

    "Another article he found stated that a study in Texas had found that adding an additional second to yellow lights corresponded to a 40-percent reduction in crashes [view study]," Wolff wrote. "Even so, the city of Springfield had chosen to reduce its yellow-light timing at more than 100 intersections prior to starting red light camera ticketing [view article]."

    State supreme courts are now evenly split on the issue of photo enforcement. Missouri's supreme court joined the Minnesota high court which struck down red light cameras as illegal in 2007, explaining that cities may not water down the due process protections of motorists simply for the ease of issuing tickets (view ruling). On the other hand, the Ohio Supreme Court (read opinion) and Iowa Supreme Court (read opinion) declared camera use consistent with state laws.

    The Missouri Supreme Court judges voided Belt's citation without remanding proceedings to a lower court.

  13. […] this be put out to bid?  Are we aware that there are companies that should be actively avoided?   (Really, read about what an employee at American Traffic Solutions did and see if that would […]