Traffic Light Delays Offer Better Solution Than Red Light Cameras

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By: Howard Melamed

When I first started the Coralsprings.com website about 13 years ago,  there was a tragedy at the Coral Springs Drive and Atlantic Boulevard intersection, when a red light runner went through the intersection crashing into a car where a three year-old strapped into a car seat in the rear of the vehicle was killed.  He would have been 16 years-old today. Red Light Runners Caught on Camera

Red Light Cameras would have only shown the gruesome picture of this accident.  Delaying the Traffic Signals that would have all lights remain red for two seconds would have saved this child’s life.

Red Light Cameras Do Not Prevent Accidents. Instead Increase City Revenues

It is time we accepted the fact that the only reason that Red Light cameras were installed at our intersections was not to make them safer but to provide a revenue stream to the cities in which they are installed.

This is no different than Coral Springs, where the city has budgeted close to $450,000 worth of revenue that they will depend upon, coming from drivers running red lights.  The year before, only $50,000 was budgeted, so this trend in increasing revenue to the city based on people running red lights is disgusting.  Red Light Cameras that catch red light runners in the act are not there to protect the public in as much as they are there to protect out of control spending by our city.

As a civil engineer, I can tell you professionally that Red Light cameras only take a picture of the offender after he kills someone running through the light.  It does little to prevent the accident from happening in the first place.  Red light running is a disease that any traffic cop will tell you cannot be controlled, and the offenders are often the same people that do it over and over again.  Most people that commit the crime will tell you that they did not do it willingly, but it was an instinct to get through the intersection quickly, as if in a race against time.  Impulse infractions like these are impossible to fully control, and require additional protection to the public to defend them against reckless drivers.

What Works: Delayed Traffic Signals

Broward County has a multimillion dollar computer that controls all of the traffic lights.  They can simply program every single corner to institute the delay equal to the time it takes a car to travel from the start of the solid white line before the intersection at the time the red light turns on, to the finishing of the intersection.

What this all means is simple math:  If it takes two seconds for a car to clear the intersection at 40 mph, then delay the red light on all three corners by two seconds before any green light or turn signal comes on. This allows any intersection to clear of traffic including red light runners before any crossing traffic moves into any intersection..

After persuading Broward County ten years ago to increase the traffic delay, they made the change at several intersections that is still noticeable today.  However, they are constantly decreasing them, depending on time of day, and sometimes forgetting to put them into place when changing lights.

We must strengthen the policy of increased traffic timings to prevent further accidents. If we are to have the red light cameras at every intersection, let’s at least make our goal to reduce the amount traffic incidents caused by red light runners and depend on another form of revenue for our city that safer streets provide.

About the Author

Howard Melamed is running for Coral Springs City Commissioner Seat #4, in a nonpartisan election and is the owner and editor of Coralsprings.com, a local website. As a resident of Coral Springs for 23 years, Melamed has written over 200 articles, and has recently published a book titled “the Science of Opportunity” available on Amazon.com. He an expert in cell phone technology and is the CEO of CellAntenna Corporation, a multinational multimillion dollar company that is headquartered in Coral Springs. He has appeared on radio, television and has been quoted in newspapers around the world. More information can be found at howardmelamed.com

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About Howard Melamed

avatar Howard Melamed is a long-time resident of Coral Springs. He is a civil engineer and CEO of CellAntenna Corporation which has been located in Coral Springs since 1992. He is also editor of Coralsprings.com.

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  • JuliannaSmith

    Everything comes your way, if you are in the wrong lane. As parents, it is my responsibility to ensure that my kids are always safe. I am just glad I found this great application which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here: https://login.safekidzone.com/mobilesafety/?CampaignLandingPage=RelentlessProtectionSafeLink&refcode=relentlessprotection&a_aid=514ae2c64ba1d&a_bid=2b29a9fc#

  • JuliannaSmith

    Accidents can happen any time, no matter how you prepare on things to make you safe everyday. I am so glad I found an application SafeKidZone, it’s a safety management device. You just have to press the Panic Button and your exact GPS coordinates will be sent over to their system and they will know where you are so they can route it over to the nearest 9-1-1 center based on your GPS location. Check this link:http://www.SafeKidZone.com/

  • John Doe Sr

    No matter what kind of spin you put on this, running red lights still remains illegal. You are placing the blame everywhere except where it belongs. Your suggestion will only exacerbate the situation as drivers aware of the “extra” time will exploit this. Anyone caught by red light cameras or a patrolman should be cited. Impulse reactions are no excuse. Where is this “impulse reaction” learned ? You need strong enforcement to break the cycle. Drivers have little or no respect for any of the traffic laws. Obey the law and the red light cameras will disappear.

  • Patti Lynn

    John Doe, Sr.speaks the truth. Go and sit at an intersection and WATCH!!! If we had more police, the red light cameras would not be an issue. Police Officers and deputies would sit at intersections and write tickets all day long. Those tickets would cost the driver. In addition to a fine, higher insurance rates and points on his, or her, license will be assessed.

    The red light camera targets the OWNER of a registered vehicle, not the driver. There is NO dispute that the vehicle ran the light. A fine is assessed to the owner of the vehicle. No traffic infraction, no points, no insurance boost. If the vehicle owner is smart, he, or she, will mend his/her ways, OR address the person driving their vehicle.
    I totally SUPPORT red light cameras. Most Florida drivers don’t understand the AMBER light. What it means, is: If you are able to SAFELY stop, you must do so. What FloriDuh drivers think is…” If I speed up, I can beat this light.” Red Light cameras save lives. If they assist cities in adding to their treasuries, so be it. Just stop at the darned light!!!.

    As an aside, 7 years ago I was arrested for DUI…in a parking lot. I am grateful that I was arrested. I inflicted property damage on 6 parked vehicles, but, there were no physical injuries. Had I managed to exit the parking lot, I may have hurt someone on the street; a driver, a pedestrian, a passenger. I am eternally grateful that that wasn’t the case. When I comment on anything, I do understand that I am opening myself up to potshots, accusations, condemnations, etc. Unfortunately, I did the crime, so, if folks who don’t know me want to accuse me of stuff, that’s okay. I’ll “Do the time.”

    ANYTHING that may save a life, or prevent an accident, is well worth it. The end does not justify the means is an adage I believe in. In the case of red light cameras, EVERYONE is forewarned. The only folks who will suffer the consequences are those who: believe that they can beat a light; don’t really care about obeying traffic rules and regulations; don’t have any responsibility in the first place, no insurance and perhaps no license. Perhaps this may be a way to explain actions and consequences!!

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