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Red-Light Camera Ticket Revenue and Short Yellows 976

Posted by kdawson
from the show-your-yellow-teeth-for-the-camera dept.
NicknamesAreStupid writes "A Fort Meyers news station reports a nerdy husband getting his wife out of a red-light camera ticket by proving the light was set with too short of a yellow. Then he goes out and proves that nearly 90% of the lights are set an average of about 20% too short. Is this a local incident, or have local governments nationwide found a new revenue source? What puzzles me is how a single picture can tell if you ran a light. If you are in the intersection before the light turns red, you have not run it, even if it takes a little while to clear it (say to yield to an unexpected obstacle). Wouldn't you need two pictures — one just before the light went red showing you are not in the intersection, and another after the light went red showing you in the intersection?"
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Red-Light Camera Ticket Revenue and Short Yellows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:09PM (#31824244)

    Here in Seattle they use a two-photograph system. It must be unambiguous--you were not in the intersection when the light was red, and one in the intersection.

    I still believe they cause more dangerous situations than they cure. Just from my observations.

  • Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by rueger (210566) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:12PM (#31824286) Homepage
    Seriously, red-light cameras have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money making. Often the contracts with the company providing the cameras sets a specific maximum length for the yellow light. Making it longer would bring penalties to the City.

    Don't recall the specifics, but at least one study found that lengthening the yellow light acually reduced accidents more than installing cameras.

    The study noted here [sciencedaily.com] actually found that accidents went up after installing the damned things. Then again it was Florida...
  • by Siberwulf (921893) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:13PM (#31824304)
    Some cities go a step further than just a picture. They will give you a picture before, a picture after and a 12-second video of you running the light. All that information can be found online via a URL given to you with your citation.

    http://www.plano.gov/Departments/Police/RedLightCameras/Pages/default.aspx [plano.gov]
  • by Jason Pollock (45537) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:14PM (#31824310) Homepage

    From what I understand, the cameras are triggered by motion. If you cross a line while the light is red, you get photographed.

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/red-light-camera1.htm [howstuffworks.com]

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:14PM (#31824320)
    No, it's not that simple. Florida law [state.fl.us] says you may not *enter* the intersection when the light is red. It's perfectly legal to enter on a yellow, and to be in the intersection on the following red.

    //not a lawyer, not legal advice, etc.
  • Re:Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by rueger (210566) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:16PM (#31824342) Homepage
    Also check out The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, [lww.com] which last month reported that:

    Despite reducing the number of cars entering this intersection during a red light, RLC do not seem to prevent traffic collisions at this monitored intersection. Alternative means of injury prevention must be investigated.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:18PM (#31824380) Journal

    If you are in the intersection when the light is red the you have run the light. It's really very simple!

    Came here to say that.

    FTS:

    If you are in the intersection before the light turns red, you have not run it, even if it takes a little while to clear it (say to yield to an unexpected obstacle).

    In my state (NJ), you have committed a moving violation if you are in the intersection when the light is red (unless you are turning right). I think it's a matter of selective enforcement that most officers won't ticket someone if the light was yellow when they entered it.

    I think this is a good law. Assholes who speed up through yellow lights should get punished if the light turns red while they are in it. Anyone paying attention and driving an appropriate speed for traffic conditions will be able to stop before the intersection for a red light -- assuming, of course, that the yellow light is of proper duration. Which is why the guy from TFA's wife got off -- the yellow was short.

    I have never in my life been in a situation where I've needed to run a red light, except when I wasn't paying attention and I didn't see the light turn yellow right away. I'm glad I didn't get tickets the times I've done that, but I would have deserved them.

  • by Chees0rz (1194661) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:18PM (#31824384)
    Maine driver's ed taught me that when turning left on a solid green non-arrow (yield to oncoming traffic), you are supposed to enter the intersection while waiting for the chance to go. If the light turns red, all traffic is stopped, so you have the right of way to GTFO.

    Of course it's been a while since I took driver's ed. and things may have changed. and what was taught may be a rule of thumb rather than law. but I will always fight a ticket if this is the case.

    NOTE: I am NOT talkig about the case where you FAIL to predict the flow of traffic and end up blocking the intersection (can't proceed). By all means, write me up if I do that.
  • by theGloper (1788572) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:21PM (#31824414)
    In Michigan straight from the what every driver must know handbook "A yellow light means the green signal has ended and the signal is about to turn red. You are required to stop on a yellow light. If you cannot stop safely, do not speed up but drive cautiously through the intersection."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:22PM (#31824440)

    Sorry, you just flunked civics. Different states have different laws. Welcome to Florida.

  • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <prius@driver.mac@com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:29PM (#31824560) Journal

    At least in Oregon's system, it takes two photos. One just before you enter the intersection (it assumes you're going to run it based on measured speed,) and one when you are already in the intersection. The photos have the date/time stamp, as well as a "light red for x seconds" note.

    In addition, each monitored intersection also has a video camera that records 10 seconds before, and 10 seconds after the still cameras trip. This way, there is indisputable video evidence of your run, as well. (Yes, I've gotten one. I tried to fight it under the grounds that what I did wasn't technically "failure to obey a traffic control device", but rather "improper right turn on red"; only to find out that under Oregon law, they carry the exact same penalty...)

  • by gmb61 (815164) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:38PM (#31824674)
    In California, if any part of your car enters the intersection while the light is still yellow, then it's "your intersection" for as long as it takes you to get clear of it. The traffic camera must show that the car was behind the limit line at the moment the light turned red.
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:38PM (#31824678)

    The rule here is that your car must cross the line before the light goes red.

    I was in court as a witness on a traffic ticket. A lady was ticketed for failure to yield right of way when she hit another car. She had a yield sign, the other car had a stop sign so the lady contested the ticket. The other car had already proceeded into the intersection when the lady moved past the yield sign and hit the other car. The prosecutor used the phrase "committed to the turn" to describe the other car, and the judge agreed so the ticket stood.

    I would think going into the intersection before red, and continuing through the intersection after red falls into the same category. You are committed and it is legal to move ahead.

  • by potat0man (724766) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:40PM (#31824696)
    Being in the intersection when your light turns red is illegal in all (states).

    You're mistaken about that [findlaw.com].
    Many states only require you cross the white line before the light turns red.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:45PM (#31824770)

    That's Florida though, it has its own Fark tag for a reason. In every state that I've lived in you have to be clear of the intersection when the red light comes on or God help you if a cop is there cuz you're about to get butthurt.

    Legal in CA, MI, NY, and CO, too.

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:46PM (#31824784)

    Not sure, I haven't looked at any of the studies extensively, but AAA seems pretty confident. It does make some sense when you think about it. Yellow warns people that a change is happening, but they need time to react. If they are trained on yellow being short they may elect to speed up or jam on the brakes, which causes problems. If they understand that there is plenty of time, they'll maintain speed and go through.

    I know there are more than a few lights here where I get trigger happy on the brakes when I see yellow because it is so short.

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:48PM (#31824812)
    Incorrect. For example, one state's law:

    (d) An operator of a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line. In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. A vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown. After stopping, standing until the intersection may be entered safely, and yielding right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection, the operator may...

    You were across the "Stop" line when the light turned red, so you cannot be charged for running a red light, in most states, at least. However, you need to be able to clear the intersection before you're busted for "impeding traffic" -- but you can aslo be fined, just as easily, for "impeding traffic" if you do NOT take the chance to wrestle your way into the yellow/red light left-turn by creeping across the line during the green.

  • by Miguelito (13307) <mm-slashdot@miCO ... g minus caffeine> on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:52PM (#31824876) Homepage

    In California, if any part of your car enters the intersection while the light is still yellow, then it's "your intersection" for as long as it takes you to get clear of it.

    Technically incorrect. If you enter an intersection, even on green, and cannot clearly/reasonably exit the intersection before the red light (usually meaning traffic is piled up in front of you) then you can be cited. Presumably it's for blocking traffic vs running the red, but it might be up to the officer and/or judge.

    Not the same situation, but it would apply on a yellow if you cross the line before red, but there were cars in front of you keeping you from exiting the intersection before it did turn red.

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Informative)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:54PM (#31824892)
    I wonder for how long though?

    Forever.

    By this, I mean I heard they found a large benefit from adding the middle brake light (not sure of the name for it, but the one in the rear windshield) in taxi cabs in NYC. Something like 20% fewer rear end collisions (I'm guessing on the percentage as it was years ago that I heard this) so the government made it mandatory.

    CHMSL, Center High Mount Stop Light.

    Only it seems the improvement only lasted for a little while. Once it became standard and people became used to it, the improvement basically disappeared. So it only helped while it was novel,

    Ah, you are mistaking safety with regulations. What they found was putting lights where people didn't expect them improved safety. However, as you say, putting them in a new but soon to be expected spot was a temporary fix. They actually found that "hiding" them with body-color coverings so that you couldn't identify where the brake lights were until they came on would never diminish. But that cost too much according to the car makers, and so the actually effective safety measure was ignored to pass something they knew at the time would save a few lives for a few years, then be worthless forever after.

    It wasn't an issue of actual ignorance before requiring them, but an issue of the Big-3 lobbying to prevent safety measures from being passed that interfered with the look of their cars or the cost of them.

    It was the same with airbags. Aside from unbelted passengers, airbags didn't improve safety. But Ralph Nader, knowing this, got up in front of Congress and lied in order to get airbags passed that would kill infants, while also working to prevent warning labels on them initially so that people wouldn't be scared of them. So we've had presidential candidates who worked very hard to pass regulations that killed babies by ejecting their heads out of the back of car windows while their bodies were still strapped into their car seats. Safety doesn't matter nearly as much as the appearance of safety.

    is that the case with longer yellow lights? Do people compensate for it after a little while when they start to learn it is a "long yellow"?

    No. The ones that have gone years with longer yellows still see the same improvements. It might be because the yellows are more random, but in general, people really don't try to run reds, they just think they can make it, and longer yellows let them.
  • by Smallpond (221300) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:56PM (#31824928) Homepage Journal

    Then when you crash into someone, try to explain why in the pictures you have your face covered and you aren't looking at the road.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:01PM (#31824990)

    In Ohio, according to a cop of 30+ years at least, it is perfectly legal to enter the intersection with intent to make a left turn when the light is green. Once the light turns red, the oncoming traffic no longer has the right of way, and the traffic with the green does not have the right away until the intersection is cleared. It's not only legal for the person making the left to turn on red if they are in the middle of the intersection. They are obligated to clear the intersection.

  • by Kizeh (71312) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:04PM (#31825010)

    I'm not sure what state-wide regulation there is (although there's talk about crafting some) but where I live in Florida the yellows get lengthened when cameras are put in, and if you get tagged a sheriff's deputy will review the picture and video, and if they deem that the infraction was, in fact, ticket-worthy, you get a link to not only the picture but the accompanying video snippet to see exactly what happened, and a chance to contest the ticket (or pay it.) While I would rather get more police on the street to enforce laws than put automated surveillance equipment in more places, it does seem like a pretty well thought-out and fair system to me. (And one of those options needs to happen, because people keep blowing through red lights like there's no tomorrow.)

  • by Smurf (7981) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:08PM (#31825042)

    That's Florida though, it has its own Fark tag for a reason.

    And the story of TFA takes place in Florida, so what is your point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:09PM (#31825058)

    That's because people in Richmond can't drive. Even with extended yellows, I still see a lot of people running the light, turn left even when the light changed to yellow or red while they're still behind the line.

  • Re:Legality (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:14PM (#31825106) Journal

    They put up the cameras in North Carolina, but there was a problem: Our state Constitution says that *all* fines collected must be put into the education fund (this would exclude court costs). They installed the cameras, collected a bunch of money, a lawsuit was had, and it was judged that both halves of the funds collected (was a 50/50 split between cities and the company that owned the cameras) must be given to the schools. That means the camera company would have to do it for free, which wasn't going to happen. Since this is a Constitutional mandate and not just a law that was passed, it would require an amendment to change, which wasn't going to happen.

    Needless to say, we don't have cameras in NC anymore. I don't think the schools ever got their money either. And yes, they shortened the yellow lights, which means that here in NC, we have crooked politicians, too.

  • by bar-agent (698856) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:17PM (#31825134)

    but the fact remains that being in the intersection when the light turns red is technically illegal in every state in the nation.

    Not in Washington State. We seem to have a sensible legislature & judiciary.

    There is nothing in the laws that say the intersection has to be clear on a red light; you just can't enter the intersection on red. In fact, you are obligated to stop in the middle of the intersection to allow legal traffic to pass. It seems perfectly legal to enter the intersection on green or even yellow and finish your left turn on red. And (news to me) we can even make a left turn at a red light from a two-way street onto a one-way street going left; this is explicitly stated.

    RCW 46.61.055 [wa.gov]

    (1)(a) Vehicle operators facing a circular green signal ... turning left or right shall stop to allow other vehicles lawfully within the intersection control area to complete their movements.
    (2)(a) Vehicle operators facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal are thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.
    (3)(a) Vehicle operators facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line ... or, if none, then before entering the intersection control area and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.

  • by gmb61 (815164) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:17PM (#31825136)
    Please don't believe this person. You DO NOT have to identify the driver and there is NO LAW COMPELLING YOU TO DO SO. I encourage anyone interested in this subject to read this: http://www.highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsticket.htm#NotMe [highwayrobbery.net]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:22PM (#31825208)

    I got a speeding-ticket some time ago. Here in Arizona, we a bunch of those damned things and everyone hates them. They're operated by a company called RedFlex. I had been busted by them twice before and I dutifully paid the fine after seeing the threatening messages in the ticket. As it turns out, less that 30% of those that get the tickets pay them. The tickets aren't enforceable because they haven't been SERVED by an actual person from the city (i.e., a policeman or a server).

    The third time I got the ticket, I was going 65 on the freeway. I don't go down that freeway much so I was unaware that it abruptly changes to 55. There is a slope that goes under an overpass and the bastards placed a camera RIGHT under the overpass and at the bottom of the slope. The cameras are triggered to go off if you go 11 or over. I was doing 65, thinking I was in a 65. So I was doing around 67-68 at the bottom of the slope. BAM!

    I got the ticket in the mail in a few days later. I said a loud FUCK YOU for my benefit and shredded the damn thing. What happened to me? Nothing. I think a process server may have tried to serve me; I just didn't answer the door (for about 3 months) but I'm single and so I'm not home that much anyway. The ticket was dismissed and nothing showed up on my record.

    So if you're in Arizona and you get a red-light ticket. Say fuck it. I know that as an Anonymous Coward my "advice" is suspect, but seriously, it works! Even if a process server does serve you, you can still fight it, and all you have to pay is about $25 extra to cover the charge of them serving you (if the judge says you have to pay the fine).

  • by nabsltd (1313397) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:26PM (#31825242)

    Technically incorrect. If you enter an intersection, even on green, and cannot clearly/reasonably exit the intersection before the red light (usually meaning traffic is piled up in front of you) then you can be cited. Presumably it's for blocking traffic vs running the red, but it might be up to the officer and/or judge.

    It's pretty much the same in most states (based on the 8-10 that I lived in or near and know the law), but it usually only enforced inside cities (e.g., "don't block the box"). And, every time it is enforced, it's by a human who saw the driver blatently ignored the part of the law about "if you can safely stop before entering the intersection" because the traffic wasn't actually flowing freely.

    Red light cameras with short yellows lead to far too many bad driving decisions (stopping early, rushing to beat the light, etc.).

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:52PM (#31825478)

    but the fact remains that being in the intersection when the light turns red is technically illegal in every state in the nation

    Nuh uh.

    From the Federal Highway Administration [dot.gov], as posted in another comment:

    Permissive yellow rule:

    • Driver can legally enter intersection during entire yellow interval
    • Violation occurs if driver enters intersection after onset of red

    Restrictive yellow rule:

    • Driver can neither enter nor be in intersection on red
    • Violation occurs if driver has not cleared intersection after onset of red

    ...

    The permissive yellow rule is that stated in the MUTCD and Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC). 37 states + DC have laws in substantial conformity with the meaning of the yellow and red indications in the MUTCD and UVC. Another 9 states require motorists to stop on yellow but also drive cautiously through the intersection on the red if too close to stop safely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:16PM (#31825684)

    And IN. (And I'd bet most everywhere else, too -- especially if you entered while it was green, and were still there when it turns red, no sane law could hold you to be wrong, and no sane judge or jury could uphold a law that did.)

  • by Le Marteau (206396) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:19PM (#31825706) Journal

    That's the law in Colorado as well. It is ENTERING the intersection on a red light that is illegal. It is not illegal to be in the intersection when the light turns red.

  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:25PM (#31825768)
    Just checked the law for my state (Arizona), and it only prohibits entering the intersection on a red light. There is nothing that prohibits being in the intersection when the light turns red.
  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:30PM (#31825828)
    Illinois as well.

    /lives in IL near Chicago

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:33PM (#31825856) Journal
    California has rules on the minimum length of yellow lights. At least one city in CA had to refund a bunch of tickets after someone measured the time the lights were yellow and found that it was too short. The city had to issue $1M of refunds. [thenewspaper.com]
  • by eric76 (679787) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:38PM (#31825900)

    In Texas, if you are in the intersection when the light turns red, then you didn't run a red light. Furthermore, you have the legal right of way to clear the intersection before crossing traffic may enter.

    For unprotected left turns, that's why I pull out into the intersection during the green or yellow light and wait for the oncoming to stop before completing my left hand turn.

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Informative)

    by paro12 (142901) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:47PM (#31825982)

    What a Bunch Of FUD....

    If you're going to throw crap out there, you might want to trying providing links that back up your claims.


    It was the same with airbags. Aside from unbelted passengers, airbags didn't improve safety. But Ralph Nader, knowing this, got up in front of Congress and lied in order to get airbags passed that would kill infants, while also working to prevent warning labels on them initially so that people wouldn't be scared of them. So we've had presidential candidates who worked very hard to pass regulations that killed babies by ejecting their heads out of the back of car windows while their bodies were still strapped into their car seats. Safety doesn't matter nearly as much as the appearance of safety. .

    Study [iihs.org] after Study [ama-assn.org] after Study [ohioinsurance.org] have shown quite the opposite. In fact, there have even been papers [apa.org] that conclude that the media have skewed their reporting on the subject to basically fall in line with what you were spouting about above.

    The point of an airbag is to cushion and slow the upper torso and head from striking hard objects that cause rapid deceleration of the body and head in collisions (super high G forces) which leads to injury and death. While the initial airbags had their faults, and have caused deaths when used both properly and improperly, they have saved [archive.org] far more lives than they have claimed.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:56PM (#31826046) Journal
    Fewer than in other states.

    Out in the burbs, and even in some of the more urban areas, we have jug handles. And where we do have left turns, we tend to have either dedicated left-turn signals with red lights for oncoming traffic, or we have delayed green lights for oncoming traffic.

    We've had bad traffic in Jersey for a long time... and so roads have been built/altered to accommodate those making left-hand turns.
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:58PM (#31826066) Journal

    True, however you're supposed to stop when the light turns yellow unless you can't do so safely.

    This varies by state and country. But the US Federal standard in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is that the yellow light is simply a warning of an upcoming red light.

    The yellow light is just meant as a margin of error before the traffic starts going in the other direction. You're most certainly not supposed to count on the length of the yellow to clear the intersection before the red light.

    The "intersection clearance interval" is the all-red period.

  • by russotto (537200) on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:00PM (#31826112) Journal

    but the fact remains that being in the intersection when the light turns red is technically illegal in every state in the nation. You may want to read your state's driver's manual to educate yourself on this point.

    Score -1, wrong, unless the nation involved is not the US. In Louisiana it is illegal to enter on yellow and exit on red, but legal to enter on green and exit on red. In every other state I've checked, it is legal to enter on green or yellow and exit on red. Entering when there isn't sufficient room on the other side to clear is forbidden in some municipalities, but that does not make it illegal to be in the intersection when the light is red.

  • Re:hay kdawson (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:03PM (#31826142)

    No.

    This argument comes up again and again. It is wrong.

    Originally, Slashdot was a tech site. It's getting better at being one, but originally it was about technology. You see, back then, the Internet was young and interesting, and people were enthusiastic to talk about things. The bar of entry to actually being "in the know" was kind of low, since it was the dot.bomb boom, and there was lots, and lots, of activity.

    Since then things have changed. It was starting to go downhill a bit just before September 11th, but September 11th hit, and, well, it was the right thing to post THAT story, because it was all that people wanted to talk about... but before that people were yammering about Bush this, Bush that. It was hurting the site. You'd say, "hey, take that crap off of here," and people would yell at you for being a Republican, or whatever. Then you'd say, "no, this is a tech site," and you'd get a response like, "OMG! But BUSH IS IN OFFICE we must DROP EVERYTHING and ONLY THINK ABOUT BUSH." Around then, you couldn't have a decent tech site, because everyone wanted to talk about politics.

    Some challengers came and went. Most notably K5 and Reddit. Reddit thinks it's about tech, but it's not. K5 was about tech, but became something else. There's an important, salient fact. These sites tried to be about tech. They just didn't succeed.

    That said, I'm a low UID bastard. I think that CmdrTaco is the man, and I'm thankful for the role that Slashdot has played in my life. Yeah, there are too many MIT and CMU fanboys.. but that's the symptom of a good site, one that's about tech. Frankly, Slashdot has had some rough times, but I'm glad to say that it's made a comeback. It's been hard to run a tech site for the past decade, and CmrdTaco and the others have gotten a lot of flack for that. I'm glad that they've stuck with it.

    But, I've got a few things to say to you.

    One, everything on this website is online. As is the entire Internet. Very very very few websites need to append "online" to anything in order to explain to you that it's online. This argument is moronic.
    Two, YRO used to be about discussing your rights on the Internet. There is a lot of interesting stuff out there. You're too much of a newb to remember (and that's okay, I don't mean to insult you), but we used to discuss things like network registration, hacks, the rights of hackers, crypto export (bet you didn't know that there were laws about that), key escrows, and all sorts of online rights stuff.
    Three, when people use YRO to discuss things like elections, and their political agenda, and whatnot, they're going off-topic. This is fine to a degree, but it has to be controlled. Not because I want a big oppressive big-brother running things, but because if we make every site a political site, there will be no more tech sites.
    Finally, this submission is a-okay. It's discussing a usage of technology. That's always been fair-game.

  • by justin12345 (846440) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:04PM (#31826726)

    Thats not true of most states. In most states, if your car has completely entered the intersection when the light turns red you didn't run the light.

    Now on the other hand, you're right that TFA is a good example of why Florida gets its own Fark tag. Red light cameras are illegal in Florida, see here: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/30/3059.asp [thenewspaper.com] of course that doesn't stop cities from putting them up, despite the fact the state legislature declared them illegal. The towns and cities that have them are now trying to treat them as civil cases between the company that installed the cameras and the person issued the "ticket". Basically you can just rip up a Florida red light ticket, they are not even remotely legal.

    Another fun Florida fact is that breathalyzers are no longer permissible as proof of intoxication for DUI stops. They do a good old fashioned "walk the line" sobriety test, which if you pass, even if you blow too high, you still walk. It got that way because the company that provided the breathalyzers would not provide the code for the software that drives them to opposing council, or even the court itself.

  • Re:hay kdawson (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity.yahoo@com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:24PM (#31826894) Homepage

    While off topic, this particular AC is keenly aware of the history and nuance of slashdot's past. It's actually very accurate, and since I've been here since not long after the beginning, I would know.

    Politics can still be interesting. And compared to a plethora of drivel I've seen and learned to ignore on Slashdot over the last few years, a nerdy dude timing yellow light durations to beat traffic tickets is pretty damned good.

    As far as yellow light durations go, I have it made in Minnesota. Big intersections have signs 150 yards or so before the intersection warning you that the light will be turning yellow soon, so that in the ice we drive in, you'll have the adequate half mile you need to slow down from 70 to zero without T-boning someone. That's not to say we don't have our own traffic subtleties. My favorite is the ninja-30mph-zone-on-a-highway.

    There are numerous places where highways suddenly become city streets with 30mph limits. You remember them quick or suffer the fines.

  • by Jhon (241832) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:33PM (#31826950) Homepage Journal

    1. I know what the california laws are. I also know they do not appear in the handbook [ca.gov]. If you carefully follow up this thread and re-read what I typed, you'll find that I said the courts do not go by the handbook -- they go by the law.

    2. Legally, in California, it's treated "clear the intersection" if you are in it, and if not, treat it as a red light. Why? Because if you run the yellow light and it turns red while you are in the intersection, you will get ticketed for blocking an intersection.

    Simply put, in California, you CAN enter the intersection on yellow -- but if you are not OUT of the intersection by the time it turns red, you've earned yourself a ticket. Usually they are for speeding up to enter the intersection, blocking traffic, failure to yield, failure to clear the intersection, etc etc etc.

    Sadly, I don't have the exact code to cite for you, but feel free to call any local police department in CA.

    Oh... my friend did contest. He lost. The reasoning was as I stated.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:48PM (#31827072)
    Sorry to break it to you, but I lived in Creve Coeur in the early 80's and you've always had to stop before making a right turn on red there, and everywhere I've lived. In the case of a right turn a red light is like a stop sign.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:04AM (#31827182)

    ...Being in the intersection when your light turns red is illegal in all of them.

    It's interesting how people who are so self-assured are also so often wrong.

    California Vehicle Code section 21452(a):
    "A driver facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is, by that signal, warned that the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown immediately thereafter."
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21452.htm
    (Note that this does NOT prohibit them from entering the intersection. Note also that 21452(b), which does prohibit entry against a yellow signal, refers ONLY to pedestrians.)

    California Vehicle Code section 21453(a):
    "A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b)."
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21453.htm

    You may want to read your state's driver's manual to educate yourself on this point.

    You may want to stop promulgating incorrect information.

  • by srealm (157581) <prez&goth,net> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:06AM (#31827188) Homepage

    At least in NY, the legal way to perform a left turn at an intersection (light or not) where you have opposing traffic, is to enter halfway into the intersection, and then when there is a large enough gap in the intersection, turn.

    If you are at a busy intersection, you may not get a gap until the opposing light turns red - even if you entered when it was green. Not all traffic lights have a separate signal for left turns.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:17AM (#31828870)

    In the UK [direct.gov.uk] (click the "Light signals controlling traffic" PDF):

    AMBER means 'Stop' at the stop line. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident

    (HTML link [direct.gov.uk], rule 175 references the law.)

  • Story #3 (Score:3, Informative)

    by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:25AM (#31831376)
    Story #3 has already been used to great affect in the state of MN. Red Light cameras were declared illegal by the MN Supreme Court under that premise. I have a citation [thenewspaper.com] here for your reference.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:34AM (#31831516)
    I've had a driver's license for a few decades now and have lived in 7 states, and for as long as I've been driving in every place I've driven it's legal to turn right on red unless otherwise prohibitied, after first coming to a complete stop.

    I've never lived in MO but I find it hard to believe the law was previously, "drive through a red light without stopping if you're making a right turn". Why would the law allow you to freely turn into oncoming traffic without stopping? It seems more likely that you were ignorant of the law rather than the law was changed (to something more reasonable) just to accomodate red light cameras.
  • by flythebike (1587733) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:08PM (#31838072)
    I temped for I believe it was Lockheed in 2002 in Washington DC. There was human oversight of the red light ticketing. In those days the cameras were film cameras and you'd go get a spool of film and load it into a device that would display two photos on a computer screen. The camera was triggered by motion and would go off if you were moving at the intersection as the light was yellow. So the first photo would be of a yellow light. This would clearly catch the license plate. The second photo would be of the car going through the intersection on a red, or of it stopping just in time. If the driver ran the red, you'd click on the first photo to read the license plate #. You also had to discern what state was on the plate, which could be quite difficult. The atmosphere of the company was very parochial, the managers were aloof, condescending jerks who thought they were nice, and once I got within two weeks start date of my real job and I had finals looming, I basically told them off and got fired on purpose. There was a cop that worked there that was supposed to be certifying the tickets but I don't remember ever seeing him. We processed thousands of tickets a day and I don't know how anyone could check all that work. I remember the cameras catching one accident in the month or two I worked there, don't remember much else interesting there other than that some of the people that I worked with went to the club a lot.
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:57PM (#31838878) Journal

    A full stop before making a right turn on red has ALWAYS been mandatory in the entire state of Missouri. I don’t know what you east-coasters from St. Louis have always done, but in Kansas City, you STOP on red. Then you make your right-hand turn, if it’s safe to do so (and there isn’t any sign prohibiting it).

    See the MO drive guide here [google.com].

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