Red Light Camera Debate Heats Up Over Shorter Yellow Lights
Photo by Tripp
With 186 red light camera intersections, Chicago has more intersections monitored by cameras than any other city in the nation and made $59 million in revenue last year from violations recorded by these cameras. Officials insist the cameras are there only to improve safety but the effectiveness of the cameras in reducing accidents has come under scrutiny.
The Tribune reported last year that state records showed collisions either increasing or holding steady at nearly 60 percent of the city intersections equipped with red-light cameras in 2006 or 2007. City records, by contrast, showed accidents going down more often than not at those intersections.
The Tribune found no evidence to back up red light camera opponents’ claims that the city is tampering with the yellow lights. It obtained city engineering plans and found instructions for three-second yellows at almost all signals tied to cameras and instructions for the rest of the signals call for four-second yellows. In addition, it found signal times can't be altered without a security code and if a yellow cycle drops below 2.8 seconds then it switches automatically to flashing red lights in all directions.