Gotcha: Man, that was a fast yellow light …

Might not be your imagination.

In some locales, city-fathers are shortening the duration of yellow caution lights – you know, going from green to red.


Simple.  To increase the odds that you get ticketed by a red light “safety” camera.


According to a News 10 TV report,  in Tampa, the yellow light duration was reduced by a fraction of a second at intersections with red light cameras.

The result: red light tickets and their accompanying revenue more than doubled.

Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida communities,

What’s the impact on traffic safety?

To add injury to insult, the faster yellow lights make intersections more dangerous.

There are few tangible safety benefits to short yellow lights.

In fact, they appear to have the opposite effects; according to the USDOT and FHA, short yellow lights raise crash rates.

“A one second increase in yellow time results in 40 percent decrease in severe red light related crashes,” the report said.

Shortening a driver’s window for reacting to a yellow light creates more difficult split-second decisions, which can lead to more rear end collisions.

As Steve Martin’s Navin R. Johnson – the Jerk – would say:

“Ah, a profit scheme.”

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