Real proof that longer yellow-light times reduce red-light running
Mesa’s [Arizona] red–light camera citations dropped by more than half after the city added a second of time to the yellow arrow lights at double–laned left turns. Officials then doubted the effect would last as motorists got used to the four–second yellow light.
But it has. Mesa police said the number of red–light camera citations never recovered from the plummet it took in mid–November at the six intersections where the yellow–light times were changed. At those sites, camera citations went from 1,640 in November to 716 in December. In March, the cameras recorded 734 violations.
That was back in 2001. Mesa, Arizona, never did recover the lost red-light camera revenue and has now turned to speed cameras, coupled with lower speed limits.
During the red-light camera debate last December, two councilmembers asked Mayor White to consider lengthening yellow-light times, to no avail.
It is worth pointing out again that eighty percent of red-light running occurs in the first second after a light has turned red. Yes, there will always be a percentage of people who run red lights, but if the goal is to reduce that number overall and increase safety, lengthening yellow-times is more effective than revenue-generating red-light cameras.