Opinion: Bakersfield, CA should fix its red-light camera problem

We could, of course, say more. Bakersfield has been one of our favorite get-away spots.

All of this was unfortunately ruined on one of our recent visits. A couple weeks after a four-day stay, we received a notice in the mail that I had run a red light at the corner of Stockdale Highway and California Avenue. It was all well-documented by an Arizona company that had taken numerous pictures of my transgression and even a video. The fine was $490.

Thus began several days of research on the duration of yellow lights. Red light cameras are often sold on the premise that they reduce accidents and improve safety because people will become less inclined to enter the intersection when the light changes. Yes, there are fewer crash accidents in the intersection when red light cameras are in use, but there are also 40 percent, up to 150 percent, more rear-end accidents.

The most effective way to reduce red light violations is to add one second to the state-mandated minimums (as was done in Georgia). Violations dropped by 80 to 92 percent. Mid-intersection crash accidents also reduced by 40 percent in a Texas study.