What we think: Go green on cameras

What we think: Go green on cameras

There are 38 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from May 10, 2009, titled What we think: Go green on cameras. In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

I n Groundhog Day , a TV weatherman covers a story about Punxsutawney Phil, the famed weathervane rodent, and soon learns that he is seemingly forever doomed to repeat the same day.

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Matty Matt

United States

#1 May 10, 2009
We just had an editorial about Sun-Rail. Today it's red light cameras. I just know a homeless story is soon to follow or maybe a story about the new venues. I don't imagine we will see an opinion about how Daisey Lynum was cleared of using her influence to interfere with police in the execution of their duties.


Since: Apr 07

Orlando, FL

#2 May 11, 2009
The Orlando Sentinel hasn't done it's research...
http://www.romenews-tribune.com/pages/full_st... ;
Basically, Georgia passed a law that required 1 additional second to all yellow lights where red light cameras were installed... The results are clear...
From the article:
“The city’s revenue was cut in half last June when the additional second was added to yellow light.”
“Citations averaged 240 to 280 a month between 2007 and May 2008, Milam said, but are now running about 60 to 100 a month.”(down 65-75%)
Red light camera citations averaged 240 to 280 per month before the additional second was added to the yellow lights. When the additional second was added to the yellow lights, citations dropped to 60 to 100 a month.
How is it possible that 240 to 280 violations per month is safer than 60 to 100 violations per month?
If the result of adding one second to yellow lights reduces violations by 65-75%(some cases as much as 90% in Georgia), why are we not adding the additional second? If it really was about safety, adding a second to all yellow lights would be the first thing done...
http://www.newcombformayor.com
plain as day

Orlando, FL

#3 May 11, 2009
mnewcomb wrote:
The Orlando Sentinel hasn't done it's research...
http://www.romenews-tribune.com/pages/full_st... ;
Basically, Georgia passed a law that required 1 additional second to all yellow lights where red light cameras were installed... The results are clear...
From the article:
“The city’s revenue was cut in half last June when the additional second was added to yellow light.”
“Citations averaged 240 to 280 a month between 2007 and May 2008, Milam said, but are now running about 60 to 100 a month.”(down 65-75%)
Red light camera citations averaged 240 to 280 per month before the additional second was added to the yellow lights. When the additional second was added to the yellow lights, citations dropped to 60 to 100 a month.
How is it possible that 240 to 280 violations per month is safer than 60 to 100 violations per month?
If the result of adding one second to yellow lights reduces violations by 65-75%(some cases as much as 90% in Georgia), why are we not adding the additional second? If it really was about safety, adding a second to all yellow lights would be the first thing done...
http://www.newcombformayor.com
as we all know, it's all about the benjamins....going green and all that. Oh you thought 'going green' meant environment? lol!
maxfield

Oviedo, FL

#4 May 11, 2009
What tripe. One day it's the weekly Scam Rail editorial, then it's red light cameras, then a report on how vibrant downtown Orlando is. I am glad I can read this rag online for free as I would just hate to pay for this drivel.
Anon

Windermere, FL

#5 May 11, 2009
It's all about $$$$, nothing to do about safety. If it was safety you would see AAA, insurance companies, and similar quickly backing the idea. As per the previous commenter, it's all about proper timing of the yellow light. Make it minimum and generate $$$, make it reasonable and cents. Sounds to me like the red light camera likers are doing everything possible to create the basis for a class action lawsuit which will cost those locations that are using the cameras for $$$, even more $$$ to pay the class action.
CHi CHi

Oviedo, FL

#6 May 11, 2009
And now yellow lights will be about 3/4 of a second
The Lorax

Kissimmee, FL

#7 May 11, 2009
mnewcomb wrote:
How is it possible that 240 to 280 violations per month is safer than 60 to 100 violations per month?
If the result of adding one second to yellow lights reduces violations by 65-75%(some cases as much as 90% in Georgia), why are we not adding the additional second? If it really was about safety, adding a second to all yellow lights would be the first thing done...
http://www.newcombformayor.com
The only thing that changed for the drivers when they added that extra second is that it gave them a longer window to try to make the light and more were successful.

But that's just the problem. Trying To Make The Light. They aren't trying to stop for the light, no, get through that light at all costs.

So, now it's going to cost. And cost a lot.

You people rant and pissandmoan and complain about "Oh! It's ALL about the money!!!"

Even if it's true... So??? You have to admit, the local governments do need the money.

And if one of the best ways to get that money is to penalize people who run red lights because they are Trying To Make The Light, well that's ok too.

You know, if you folks were actually doing that "defensive driving" stuff, you would be more willing to stop for the light, instead of the other way around. If you're paying attention to the road (and not biting your toenails or talking to the telephone or whatever else you're doing) you'd have a better idea of just how likely it is that the light's going to change before you get right up to it, other people do it every day, what's wrong with YOU ALL???
plain as day

Orlando, FL

#8 May 11, 2009
The Lorax wrote:
<quoted text>
The only thing that changed for the drivers when they added that extra second is that it gave them a longer window to try to make the light and more were successful.
But that's just the problem. Trying To Make The Light. They aren't trying to stop for the light, no, get through that light at all costs.
So, now it's going to cost. And cost a lot.
You people rant and pissandmoan and complain about "Oh! It's ALL about the money!!!"
Even if it's true... So??? You have to admit, the local governments do need the money.
And if one of the best ways to get that money is to penalize people who run red lights because they are Trying To Make The Light, well that's ok too.
You know, if you folks were actually doing that "defensive driving" stuff, you would be more willing to stop for the light, instead of the other way around. If you're paying attention to the road (and not biting your toenails or talking to the telephone or whatever else you're doing) you'd have a better idea of just how likely it is that the light's going to change before you get right up to it, other people do it every day, what's wrong with YOU ALL???
the point is most of the cameras are gamed for the state to win. Even driving the speed limit and doing 'defensive driving'. Remember that when you get 'caught' with a very short yellow and have to fork over your money 'because the gov needs it'.
Smile now you're on camera.

Since: Apr 07

Orlando, FL

#9 May 11, 2009
The Lorax wrote:
The only thing that changed for the drivers when they added that extra second is that it gave them a longer window to try to make the light and more were successful.
Repeat it with me.

240 to 280 violations per month without the additional yellow light second, 60 to 100 violations per month with the additional yellow light second.

Violations, by their very definition, can be accident causing, otherwise, they wouldn't be violations!

So, the ultimate goal should be to reduce violations, thereby increasing safety...
The Lorax wrote:
You people rant and pissandmoan and complain about "Oh! It's ALL about the money!!!"
Even if it's true... So??? You have to admit, the local governments do need the money.
And if one of the best ways to get that money is to penalize people who run red lights because they are Trying To Make The Light, well that's ok too.
If it is about the money, then money is more important than safety... Yet, safety is the reason given for installing these cameras.
The Lorax wrote:
You know, if you folks were actually doing that "defensive driving" stuff, you would be more willing to stop for the light, instead of the other way around. If you're paying attention to the road (and not biting your toenails or talking to the telephone or whatever else you're doing) you'd have a better idea of just how likely it is that the light's going to change before you get right up to it, other people do it every day, what's wrong with YOU ALL???
Personally, I use the countdown timer on the crosswalk sign... I think that same principal could be applied to the light itself so people know exactly when the light is changing. No guesswork involved...
Lamar

United States

#10 May 11, 2009
If red light enforcement is "saving lives" then why doesn't the Sentinel make a peep about stepping up police enforcement? Why doesn't the Sentinel even mention police enforcement, even if it is only to shoot it down for some reason? Are we all in imminent danger of losing our lives at our intersections or not? If so, you'd think that maybe the Sentinel would ask to have more cops enforcing the lights, even if it were only a temporary measure before their cameras can get up and running. No mention of such enforcement leads me to believe that the Sentinel isn't serious about safety.
The Lorax

Kissimmee, FL

#11 May 11, 2009
mnewcomb wrote:
<quoted text>
Repeat it with me.
240 to 280 violations per month without the additional yellow light second, 60 to 100 violations per month with the additional yellow light second.
Violations, by their very definition, can be accident causing, otherwise, they wouldn't be violations!
So, the ultimate goal should be to reduce violations, thereby increasing safety...
<quoted text>
If it is about the money, then money is more important than safety... Yet, safety is the reason given for installing these cameras.
<quoted text>
Personally, I use the countdown timer on the crosswalk sign... I think that same principal could be applied to the light itself so people know exactly when the light is changing. No guesswork involved...
Well, finally!!! I thought that I was very nearly alone when it comes to watching the walk light. And I watch it from as far off as I can see it. It helps that I drive a Tacoma 4x4 so I have some increased visibility.

But really, all that the decrease in violations (after adding time to the yellow light) means is that more people successfully MAKE IT THROUGH the light, not that anyone is really more successful in stopping for it. Surely (not Shirley) you can see that??? Now what it really tells one, though, is that the others, the ones who still ran them, are probably the hard core "I don't care about the rules" set.

And yes, I agree that it's most likely more about the money than the safety, but no government will ever go public and say "Look, we need the money, we don't giveadamn about your safety."

So, Ok, how about this as a compromise.... DOUBLE the amount of time for any yellow light, subtracting the additional yellow from the green so as to not increase the overall cycle time on any given intersection. Then establish even more severe penalties for running them.

The footage that I've seen on the net shows the light change and you can count how long the yellow stays on. So if one tries to use that as a defense in court, they can pull out a stopwatch and determine the actuality of the claim.

So, that should cover all the bases. As far as someone claiming that they weren't driving, too bad, since there's no points involved, it's only damaging to the wallet, so they can go after whoever they were stupid enough to lend their car to to recover that money, or, in the case of their child,...well, I'm sure that it'd only take one or two tickets to figure that one out.
The Lorax

Kissimmee, FL

#12 May 11, 2009
Lamar wrote:
If red light enforcement is "saving lives" then why doesn't the Sentinel make a peep about stepping up police enforcement? Why doesn't the Sentinel even mention police enforcement, even if it is only to shoot it down for some reason? Are we all in imminent danger of losing our lives at our intersections or not? If so, you'd think that maybe the Sentinel would ask to have more cops enforcing the lights, even if it were only a temporary measure before their cameras can get up and running. No mention of such enforcement leads me to believe that the Sentinel isn't serious about safety.
Lamar... are you really so silly that you think that there's any way possible to hire traffic enforcement cops when everyone's budgets are being cut??? Really???

Here's a homework project for you, or maybe you could have your fifth grader do it for you...

1)Find out how many intersections will receive cameras.
2)Multiply that number by 4. That's how many cameras will be installed.
3)Multiply that number by $45,000. That's a minimal number representing the salary + benefits for a rookie officer.(guess)

The result of that is the minimal additional budget necessary to man the intersections as opposed to putting cameras in. If you want the intersections manned 24/7, then you need to multiply that number by 4 again to account for rotating shifts and days off. Then you have to figure in the amoung of lost revenue that is caused by the officer having to actually pull someone over while others continue to run the light.

Cameras are cheaper, are active 24/7, don't require insurance benefits, and are highly efficient.

Get used to the idea of stopping for the light.
Lamar

United States

#13 May 11, 2009
The Lorax wrote:
Lamar... are you really so silly that you think that there's any way possible to hire traffic enforcement cops when everyone's budgets are being cut??? Really???
Whoa there. Remember, so many people are running red lights that paying for enforcement should be no problem. After all, the Sentinel is proposing to pay $500,000 per year to install a camera system. So...which is it? Is there no money to stop red light runners from killing us all? Or is there tons of money to be made? See the contradiction?
The Lorax wrote:
Here's a homework project for you, or maybe you could have your fifth grader do it for you...
1)Find out how many intersections will receive cameras.
2)Multiply that number by 4. That's how many cameras will be installed.
3)Multiply that number by $45,000. That's a minimal number representing the salary + benefits for a rookie officer.(guess)
The result of that is the minimal additional budget necessary to man the intersections as opposed to putting cameras in. If you want the intersections manned 24/7, then you need to multiply that number by 4 again to account for rotating shifts and days off. Then you have to figure in the amoung of lost revenue that is caused by the officer having to actually pull someone over while others continue to run the light.
You didn't have to go through your 5th grade math assignment to show that installing red light cameras is the cheapskate way out, I agree with that. You get shoddy enforcement for less money....but we're talking about saving lives, and red light cameras, i.e., the cheap-o solution, lead to more accidents. You make more money with cameras, but more innocent people are killed and maimed by a-holes who aren't deterred by photo shoots.
The Lorax wrote:
Cameras are cheaper, are active 24/7, don't require insurance benefits, and are highly efficient.
Yes, they are cheaper. You get what you pay for. Red light cameras can't stop drivers who are drunk, driving stolen cars, transporting drugs, or fleeing a warrant. Red light cameras don't even make you late to where you were going in such a hurry. Oh......are we talking about avoiding death and disfigurement here, or something else?
The Lorax wrote:
Get used to the idea of stopping for the light.
Oh, I get it. I must not like the idea of stopping for lights if I don't want some a-hole crashing into cars and pedestrians while trying to make it through the light. Got it. Thanks.

How about this: come back in a few years when you have your story straight.

Since: Apr 07

Orlando, FL

#14 May 11, 2009
The Lorax wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, finally!!! I thought that I was very nearly alone when it comes to watching the walk light. And I watch it from as far off as I can see it. It helps that I drive a Tacoma 4x4 so I have some increased visibility.
What do you think about putting a big timer right on top of the light telling you exactly when it is going to be red? I use it so I just coast when there is no way I'm going to make it...
The Lorax wrote:
But really, all that the decrease in violations (after adding time to the yellow light) means is that more people successfully MAKE IT THROUGH the light, not that anyone is really more successful in stopping for it. Surely (not Shirley) you can see that???
I'm not understanding your point. Making it through the light means that the light has not turned green on the cross street, so people are less likely to be t-boned by red light runners.

If people just wanted to make the light, the number of violations would stay constant. The fact that they decrease 75%(some places 90%) with the additional yellow second means that people are not driving carelessly or recklessly, it just means they got caught in a bad spot...

It is simple, if you are having more violations then you are likely to have more accidents...
The Lorax wrote:
So, Ok, how about this as a compromise.... DOUBLE the amount of time for any yellow light, subtracting the additional yellow from the green so as to not increase the overall cycle time on any given intersection. Then establish even more severe penalties for running them.
Therein lies the rub... Just increasing the yellow light time by 1 second has reduced revenues from the cameras that they no longer pay for themselves...

Read that article I linked. Cities in Georgia are taking them down because they can't afford to pay the $2,300 monthly cost...

So, red light cameras with improper yellow light times cause more violations, thereby increasing accident chances. While red light cameras with proper yellow light times don't pay for themselves...
The Lorax wrote:
... since there's no points involved ...
Funny you should mention that, because the insurance companies *are* trying to get it to put points on your license... why? So they can increase your rates...

Red light cameras are just a bad idea for citizens... the better solutions is for traffic engineers to do some engineering at these hazardous intersections...
The Lorax

Kissimmee, FL

#15 May 11, 2009
mnewcomb wrote:
<quoted text>
What do you think about putting a big timer right on top of the light telling you exactly when it is going to be red? I use it so I just coast when there is no way I'm going to make it...

...Could be interesting, but I'm not too sure that people would pay all that much more attention to that than if they cannot be bothered to watch out for it now....

<quoted text>
I'm not understanding your point. Making it through the light means that the light has not turned green on the cross street, so people are less likely to be t-boned by red light runners.
If people just wanted to make the light, the number of violations would stay constant. The fact that they decrease 75%(some places 90%) with the additional yellow second means that people are not driving carelessly or recklessly, it just means they got caught in a bad spot...
It is simple, if you are having more violations then you are likely to have more accidents...

...My point was that they still aren't trying to stop in time, they just have longer to get into the intersection before the light goes red. Remember, the light has to be red before you cross that stop line for you to be in violation. So most of those folks were still working to make the light, not stop safely.

<quoted text>
Therein lies the rub... Just increasing the yellow light time by 1 second has reduced revenues from the cameras that they no longer pay for themselves...
Read that article I linked. Cities in Georgia are taking them down because they can't afford to pay the $2,300 monthly cost...
So, red light cameras with improper yellow light times cause more violations, thereby increasing accident chances. While red light cameras with proper yellow light times don't pay for themselves...

...It'll be awhile before I get to that article, I have to go to work here shortly, but I will read it. In the meantime, I agree with the above.

<quoted text>
Funny you should mention that, because the insurance companies *are* trying to get it to put points on your license... why? So they can increase your rates...
Red light cameras are just a bad idea for citizens... the better solutions is for traffic engineers to do some engineering at these hazardous intersections...
You can engineer all you want, but people, the ones who don't care will ALWAYS drive without regard for rules, and others will nonchalantly run lights without even trying to stop for the yellow... one of my coworkers is a prime example. We have to ride together occasionally to one job or another and that's what he does. But, it's his car, I just keep my trap shut unless I want to drive all the time, which I don't.
Aaron

Orlando, FL

#16 May 11, 2009
C'mon Sentinel. Another red light camera editorial. Enough already. You have been recycling these opinion pieces weekly. Tomorrow it will be what? Commuter Rail? Venues? Space Program? Expressway Authority? Tourism Board? And how do you decide which one of these topics you will replay for us? Do you have a stack of these editorial pages in the restroom and whichever one you use to wipe your a$$ with today is what we get tommorow? Losers.
The Lorax

Kissimmee, FL

#17 May 11, 2009
Well that didn't work out just right, did it??? I'm sorry, I've never tried to respond point by point, but I'm pretty sure that you can figure out which are mine.
Doug_D

Ellijay, GA

#19 May 11, 2009
The Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day, is an excellent metaphor for the repeating and utterly predictable stupidity and insanity that comes from the Republican controlled legislature.

If the Sentinel really wants Tallahassee to start making sense, it needs to start endorsing Democrats for State House, State Senate and the Governor's race.

Otherwise the Sentinel's "surprise" that the same old crazy, corporatist Republicans that it endorses every year manages to act crazy year after year just seems to fit Einstein's definition of insanity:

"doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."

Remember that Bill Murray didn't escape being trapped in Punxsutawney PA until he made himself better - learned the piano, tried to save a homeless guy, changed the oil ladies tire, and caught the falling kid from the tree.

If the Sentinel wants to escape this Groundhog Day time loop of its own making, all it has to do is endorse the Democrat next time.

Doug D.
Orlando, FL
Doug_D

Ellijay, GA

#20 May 11, 2009
mnewcomb wrote:
<quoted text>
What do you think about putting a big timer right on top of the light telling you exactly when it is going to be red? I use it so I just coast when there is no way I'm going to make

not driving carelessly or recklessly, it just means they got caught in a bad spot...
It is simple, if you are having more violations then you are likely to have more accidents...
<quoted text>
Therein lies the rub... Just increasing the yellow light time by 1 second has reduced revenues from the cameras that they no longer pay for themselves...
Read that article I linked. Cities in Georgia are taking them down because they can't afford to pay the $2,300 monthly cost...
So, red light cameras with improper yellow light times cause more violations, thereby increasing accident chances. While red light cameras with proper yellow light times don't pay for themselves...
<quoted text>
Funny you should mention that, because the insurance companies *are* trying to get it to put points on your license... why? So they can increase your rates...
Red light cameras are just a bad idea for citizens... the better solutions is for traffic engineers to do some engineering at these hazardous intersections...
Opponents of red light cameras are either being deliberately ignorant of the facts or lying about them.

Go out to Alafaya and Colonial at rush hour and watch the people who continue to go through the light for 5 and 10 seconds after it turns red.

These people aren't being "tricked" by quick yellow lights - they are selfish dangerous drivers who need to lose their license but I'll settle for a $210.00 fine until they learn their lesson.

And P.S. there ALREADY IS a nice counter you can use to know when the light is about to change - it's called the CROSSWALK COUNTDOWN TIMER. Pay attention to it some time and you'll know when the light is about to change. Also SLOW DOWN AND DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT and you should have no trouble stopping in time if you are paying attention to upcoming lights.

We need our cops doing something meaningful - not responding to unnecessary accidents caused by foolish, selfish drivers who refuse to follow the law and put everyone at risk so that they can avoid waiting 60 seconds at a light.

Doug D.
Orlando, FL

Since: Apr 07

Orlando, FL

#21 May 11, 2009
Doug_D wrote:
<quoted text>
Opponents of red light cameras are either being deliberately ignorant of the facts or lying about them.
Is 240-280 violations MORE or LESS than 60 to 100 violations?

Read the article I posted. Most people are not out to kill themselves or others. They just want to get home.

I drive through Colonial/Alafaya every day. You think red light runners are bad now? Just wait 'til the put in some cameras and proceed to drop the yellow light times...

There is ample proof out there. Please just look at what is happening in Georgia. New law requires 1 additional second on yellow lights... Violations are down 75-90%...

If you are truly in it for safety, increase the yellow lights by 1 second. Also, increase all-red times by 1 second at big dangerous intersections... And not all crosswalks have timers and not all people notice them. A big fat countdown timer would help...

It's called traffic engineering...

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