State Capitol News
8:07 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Lawmakers want yellow light grace period

Phoenix, AZ – Members of a House panel approved a measure to forbid cities and
counties from setting their cameras designed to catch red-light
runners so someone is photographed the moment the light actually
turns red. Instead, they would have to offer a one-second
"grace'' period. The same bill would require that yellow lights
be at least as long as standards established by the Department of
Transportation. Rep. Frank Antenori said some communities are
setting their traffic signals and red-light cameras in a way
designed more produce citations and generate revenues than
actually made the roads safer. Antenori said he has seen it for
himself.

(We timed the yellow light at an intersection and then actually
went one block down to an intersection that did not have a photo
enforcement system on it. The timing at the intersection with the
photo enforcement was exactly one second quicker than it was down
the street, on the same road with the same lanes, the same
traffic patterns.)

Antenori acknowledged the move could result in some vehicles
entering the intersection after a light turns red. For example,
at 45 miles an hour, a vehicle would travel 66 feet in one
second. But he said that, with traffic signals having a period
where all directions have a red light, that's not a problem
because the vehicle would be out of the intersection by the time
cross traffic got a green signal. For Arizona Public Radio this
is Howard Fischer.