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Transportation Government The Almighty Buck

Florida DOT Cuts Yellow Light Delay Ignoring Federal Guidelines, Citations Soar 507

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the safety-is-our-last-concern dept.
New submitter zlives writes in with news that Florida's DOT changed some language in their yellow light timing regulations, leading to a decrease in the yellow delay. Especially at lights with red light cameras. "From the article: 'Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida communities, with 52.5 percent of the revenue going to the state. The rest is divided by cities, counties, and the camera companies. In 2013, the cameras are on pace to generate $120 million.' I wonder what the camera company cut is?" At least one area has promised to undo the reduction now that they have been caught.
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Florida DOT Cuts Yellow Light Delay Ignoring Federal Guidelines, Citations Soar

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  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @04:38PM (#43744629)

    The #1 thing you can do to reduce collisions in an intersection is lengthen the yellow. Go ask AAA, they've got plenty of data on it.

    Shit like this, and this is not the first time it happens, proves that traffic cameras are 100% NOT about safety, they are about money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:01PM (#43744863)

    The rental car company pays it and charges it to your credit card.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:03PM (#43744877)

    There isn't any money in it for the lawyers. The State of Florida has sovereign immunity and any lawsuit over $150,000 requires legislative approval. Plus you would probably need to sue each individual municipality. The only time people get more money is when it is a case that tugs on the heart strings and swades public sentiment. Like a baby dying while in the care of a state hospital or maybe a man wrongly convicted of a crime that has served several decades in our luxurious state penetentary system.

  • by D1G1T (1136467) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:05PM (#43744891)
    No, do pay it. Otherwise the ticket will be charged to the rental agency, who will charge your credit card for the fine and probably a large processing fee as per your rental agreement. Your $50 fine can easily become $250.
  • by thoromyr (673646) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:19PM (#43745023)

    in Missouri the state supreme court ruled against Springfield, MO for the installation and operation of red light cameras. Unfortunately, this fact is not well known and there are other operations in the state. If you get a red light camera based ticket in Missouri, don't pay it.

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/30/3067.asp [thenewspaper.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:31PM (#43745131)

    I went to college in Santa Cruz. While I was there, there was a big PR nightmare where the city threatened to arrest a man who would walk around the city dressed as a clown putting quarters in meters that were about to expire. They eventually got him to stop, but it showed how committed the city was to revenue generation through parking fines. My guess is the appeals process is a long line where you tell them your side of the story and they respond, "no."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:34PM (#43745165)

    The "Yellow phase" - is actually a fixed 3 second Amber period in the UK.

    What is key the the time from the green of one phase ending to the start of a green on the conflicting phase starting. This is known as the inter-green period. This is calculated based upon distance between the two conflict points.

    The leaving amber period is fixed (3 seconds) the Red-Amber period is fixed as 2 second - hence any intergreen period that need to be longer then 5 seconds - both signals are at red (all-red) period.

    Posting as anonymous, so I do not have to pass this through the press office. Yes I am a Traffic Engineer.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @05:35PM (#43745169) Journal

    Actually, the mass of the vehicle doesn't really significantly impact the stopping distance on reasonably level grade.

    See here [gsu.edu].

  • by pluther (647209) <pluther@@@usa...net> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:16PM (#43745691) Homepage
    I don't think he was suggesting the baseball bat be used against the cameras...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:06PM (#43746381)

    I got a bullshit citation for bicycling on a sidewalk in Queens NYC to avoid getting hit by traffic and went to the Queensborough Criminal Court where they have traffic court and did what the poster above did.

    I waited the entire day in court and declined all half price off deals and kept pleading not guilty to the judge since we all knew the cop wasn't going to show up to testify. Fucking uppity judge gave a postponement to the City prosecutor without giving me a chance to speak about my case that day and made me come back again in a few weeks. I had no chance to say anything or protest, was told come back in a few weeks.

    Well I came back to see those fucks. Same bullshit again, half price deals and pressure to cop a plea deal to pay the fuck up at the casheer at the exit and go the fuck away. Continued to plead not guilty and at the end of the second day the fucking judge called me up, told me in my face that what I did was wrong and I was guilty but since the cop isn't here I am lucky to get away with it and dismissed my case.

    All of this shit after me sitting on my ass in his kangaroo traffic court for 16 fucking hours that cost me then equivalent to $800 USD in lost wages for a $50 USD bicycle citation so I could avoid getting hit by a fucking truck while on my bicycle.

    Saw lots of scams by them taking attendance over a bad microphone and PA system in the morning and after lunch. Saw a guy loose his case because his hearing wasn't good and he missed attendance and defaulted to guilty on his case for a no show with a bench warrant being issued while he was sitting in the back waiting the whole time. Hope the old guy said something before he left otherwise he'd be fucked by NYPD. Heard them lie that the plea deals won't go on their record or increase their insurance, it does both because it's a guilt plea.

    Fuck Florida DOT yellow light shortening bastards as much as NYC injustice system. Not enough outrage and action anymore these days.

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:22PM (#43747903)

    So what you didn't see because you are so totally oblivious to how traffic really works, is that your repeated braking/slowing to get back to a safe distance is causing huge traffic snarls for miles behind you as the effect of slight variations in speed is magnified massively in a ripple effect behind you.

    I'll note that the GP already responded and noted that he doesn't generally brake, which is appropriate in this circumstance. He just keeps the distance open.

    I don't think you realize how traffic works. The reason why "snarls" and "ripple effects" occur is due to sudden braking, usually caused by people driving too aggressively and changing lanes (causing others to be cut off and brake suddenly) or not gradually slowing when coming up on the driver in front, but instead hitting the accelerator until braking at the last possible moment to end up 6 inches behind the guy's bumper in front of you.

    Those are the maneuvers that actually cause ripples and traffice snarls. You want to prevent them? Don't drive aggressively. Leave enough space to brake when needed.

    You want to solve them? Drive like the GP. Ever notice how 18-wheelers drive on a highway in heavy stop-and-start traffic? Notice how they generally let giant holes open in front of them? Even though some aggressive people will hop inside those holes, the truckers are actually trying to solve the traffic jam. If they can drive a constant 30 MPH or 20 MPH so that all the traffic is moving, it can actually clear the jam. Instead, if everyone suddenly accelerates to 40 MPH and then slows down to a stop a mile later just to keep on the tail of the person in front of them, it will actually take the jam many times longer to clear.

    This is doubly true whenever some sort of lane change or merge is the cause of the traffic problem -- traffic has transition equivalents to laminar and turbulent flow in fluid dynamics. If you try to push through too many cars too fast, things will become turbulent, and soon the flow will be impeded. Instead, if people always maintain a reasonable distance and speed, making small adjustments rather than large accelerations and sudden braking, you can actually push more cars through faster than you would with repeated stops and starts.

    In effect, by trying to drive at roughly constant speeds, and by leaving a gap in front to avoid making sudden maneuvers (as well as allowing others to move into that gap if need be rather than abruptly stopping themselves), you can actually increase traffic throughput, even if your top speed is much lower.

    If you don't get how this is possible, spend some time with a simulation developed by actual experts in traffic dynamics, such as one here [traffic-simulation.de].

    This is pissing everyone off, putting many drivers in a bad mood and everyone at greater risk of an accident.

    Maintaining a safe following distance with no sudden accelerations, braking, or sudden lane changes is a very safe way to drive. If you are the one changing lanes to get around this guy and get home 10 seconds earlier, you're the one actually causing the traffic problems, not to mention putting everyone at greater risk of accidents.

    Oh, and because your maneuvers are more likely to cause jams in the first place, you -- and others like you -- are actually the ones responsible for everyone getting home 15 minutes later by trying to save that 10 seconds.

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:29PM (#43747953)

    I already stated "brake/slow down" which includes your continuum of behavior, it's all the same. Any alteration in speed from a steady state causes ripples behind you.

    If the alteration in speed is gradual rather than abrupt, and if drivers behind you respond similarly, traffic jams can be prevented. It's the idiots who accelerate to the last possible moment to close the gap with the guy slowing down in front of them who are causing the ripples. Making gradual adjustments and allowing a gap to make future adjustments is the only way to keep steady flow near a bottleneck.

    See details I posted to your previous aggressive crazed response, and try out your fantasies here [traffic-simulation.de].

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