Length of yellow traffic lights not same at all intersections with red-light cameras
Oct 10, 2011
The following article was published in the Palm Beach Post on October 10, 2011:
Length of yellow traffic lights not same at all intersections with red light cameras
By Bill DiPaolo
About 36,000 people have received $158 tickets after cameras caught their vehicles running red lights in Palm Beach County, and Laurence Grayhills thinks he knows why.
“The timing for the yellow lights seems different at different locations. It makes me panic,” said Grayhills, a dentist who drives regularly between his Jupiter home and his Wellington office. “I bet others panic, too.”
Grayhills, a red-light camera opponent who has picketed on U.S. 1 to warn motorists about traffic-surveillance cameras, is right. The duration for yellow lights at the 13 county intersections with red-light cameras – sometimes in the same intersection – varies.
Although it’s only a half-second, from four to 4.5 seconds, those split seconds count when drivers are deciding whether to stop or continue through an intersection. Adding to the confusion, speed limits at these intersections vary between 35 and 45 mph.
It’s not a conspiracy to trap drivers, local traffic and law enforcement officials said.
Speed limits and yellow-light timing are different because roads are different, said Dan Weisberg, director of the county’s traffic division.
For example, the speed limit on Donald Ross Road west of U.S. 1 is 45 mph. The road is four lanes with a median. The speed limit on Donald Ross Road east of U.S. 1 is 35 mph. It’s two lanes. There’s no median. The road is only a quarter-mile long until it ends at A1A.
The different speed limits mean a driver traveling east toward the red light on U.S. 1 has less time to stop than the driver traveling west, even though they are in the same intersection.
Other red-light camera intersections also have different speed limits and yellow light intervals:
- Banyan Boulevard and Australian Avenue (three-way intersection): The speed limit in the west direction is 30 mph and the yellow light is on four seconds. North and south, the speed limit is 45 mph and the yellow light is on 4.5 seconds.
- Boynton Beach Boulevard and Congress Avenue: The north-south speed limit is 45 mph and the yellow light stays on 4.5 seconds. The east-west speed limit is 40 mph and the yellow light stays on for four seconds.
- Woolbright Road and Congress Avenue: The speed limit in the north, east and south directions is 45 mph and the yellow light stays on 4.5 seconds. Going west, the speed limit is 40 mph but the yellow light also stays on 4.5 seconds.
- Forest Hill Boulevard and Congress Avenue: The speed limit in the west and east directions is 45 mph and the yellow light stays on for 4.5 seconds. The speed limit in the north and south directions is 40 mph and the yellow light stays on for four seconds.
As the cameras are installed, Palm Beach County traffic engineers check that state requirements are met. The yellow-light times at all red-light intersections in Palm Beach County checked by The Palm Beach Post meet the state minimum standards.
Find this article here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/length-of-yellow-traffic-lights-not-same-at-1904545.html