Extended yellow light times reduce violations more than do cameras (but are not a cash-cow for local government.)

image: camera lens

Law enforcement by camera.

The city council in Denton, Texas, later today will debate whether to renew a contract with embattled Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia after a test demonstrated an effective alternative to red light cameras.

At the urging of council members, city staff tested the effect of an extra second of yellow warning time for the traffic signal at the corner of West Oak Street and North Carroll Boulevard. The experiment took place in April, and it took no time for the results to become obvious — a 62 percent reduction in red light violations.

“The observed reduction in violation immediately after the implementation of the increased yellow change interval was an expected outcome,” police chief Lee Howell wrote in a memo to city manager Todd Hileman.

In the past five years, April violations at the location averaged 74.5 without dropping significantly until the timing change was implemented. Violations fell to just 28. This was not good news to the police chief, who argued strenuously against lengthening the yellow time.

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