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
Want to be a guest columnist? Submit your editorial to Coral Spring Talk