Dreaded Yellow Light May Be Trap for Traffic Violations


Dreaded Yellow Light May Be Trap for Traffic Violations
By Mike Magner

Updated: November 21, 2012 | 9:19 a.m.
November 21, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.

The National Motorists Association has a warning for the millions of drivers hitting the road for the busy holiday travel season: Beware of the yellow lights.

The timing of yellow lights on traffic signals at many intersections is purposely set to a minimum so more drivers can be ticketed for running red lights, says the 30-year-old activist group based in Waunakee, Wis.

This past summer in New Jersey, the transportation department ordered 21 cities and towns to suspend the use of red-light cameras at 63 intersections because the timing of yellow lights at those locations was below the minimum established by state law.

Other cities—including Dallas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Union City, Calif.—have been caught shortening yellow lights in the past decade as red-light cameras have become sources of steady revenue. The cameras snap photos of license plates on any vehicles in an intersection while the light is red, and citations, often carrying fines of $100 or more, are mailed to the registration’s address.

IF the sole object of red light violator cameras were to improve safety at critical intersections, I’d have no problems with them (assuming, adequate records retention, regular calibration with records, yada, yada, yada). I don’t have much sympathy for the, “I shouldn’t have got caught!” argument. But it’s clear that red-light cameras are being used as revenue-raising devices, with yellow light durations being gamed to increase revenue to the detriment of safety!


One time I sped up to beat a yellow light and got pulled over. The cop said 'Yellow light means ‘slow down, not speed up’.


Failing to touch the brakes upon encountering a yellow signal is a classic legal excuse for police to pull you over while trolling for a more meaty violation they could not otherwise achieve, DUI being the principle goal. Anything that boosts the officer’s DUI stats makes him look far better than mere safety violations. The practice lays in that gray area, commonly accepted by judges, of officer discretion for a justified stop. It’s one of those unfortunately accepted quirks that tilts the table in the officers favor, not all that dissimilar from the discretion he has in writing up the facts of the traffic stop. For instance, a man ticketed for something like DUI, driving home in a three piece suit with his tie loosened becomes “disheveled” in the police report.


They’ve always been nothing more than revenue enhancers. They do not stop people running red lights; they stop people rolling red lights. Rolling a red light is a decision made by a driver who has already ascertained that there is no threat from coss traffic. Running a red light is almost always a sign of distraction or otherwise diminished driving skills.

Ironically, the only thing that eliminates either is a decreased use of traffic lights, which actually increase accidents at intersections over the use of either other control devices or no device at all. Uncontrolled intersections, or yield and stop sign controlled intersections, create doubt in drivers’ minds and thus increased levels of caution exhibited. Traffic engineers hate traffic lights and regard them as not only an inefficiency but a safety hazard. The public, which purports to hate them, actually loves them and lobbies for more of them all the time because, as any driver knows, its the other driver out there who needs regulating. (g)


The reason for all these scams is the public’s acceptance of using the force of law to punish citizens whose actions could have violated the Rights of others instead of for violating the Rights of others.

Most of the time accidents do not result in the issuance of a citation to the at fault driver, the exceptions are when substance abuse occurs or when blatant disregard for speed was a factor. Most accidents do not involve these elements, they are cases of vehicles pulling out into traffic or turning out of traffic and the occasional rear end at a traffic signal.

This means that as a society we are fine with ignoring actions that actually result in an accident but want people punished (fined) who did not cause an accident or any harm to anyone.

We deserve the corruption inherent in our justice system because we do not demand that Law enforcement focus on actual persons who violate the Rights others, we have embraced the concept that “actions which might increase the likelihood of harming others” are a more important focus for Law Enforcement than real crime.

This is the precise definition of the “Nanny State” philosophy and it dominates all of our public institutions, all of it’s manifestations are destructive but none even comes close to the horrors we endure from this idea than in our Justice system.

Murderers walk, thieves walk, child molesters walk, rapists walk and gangs are free to terrorize indefinitely.

But don’t you dare drive with your tags expired, no seat-belt buckled, a headlight burned out or unaware of a yellow light trap lest you get all the authority of the State crashing down upon you.

Any people who spit on the concept of Justice will endure a society that is plagued by a lack of Justice and by extension Liberty.


It should be noted, the shortening of the yellow light to drive this revenue is getting to the point that the yellow light change is getting to short for human perception to react properly. If the yellow light is to short, drivers are then placed in dangerous positions. This is great for boosting revenue at these red light cameras, but the increase in accidents and the loss of human life is unacceptable imo. You can read about the yellow light length and human perception here if you want: Length of yellow caution traffic lights could prevent accidents, researchers say

But the long and short of it is this, the politicians and lawmakers are valuing money over the lives of the citizens. Death is apparently acceptable because it brings in the money I guess.


This has been going on for as long as there have been traffic lights. I’ve heard of some small towns that gear them to out-of-towners (out-of-staters, actually) that will have someone with hands-on the equipment, and when he sees a mark, he’ll cut of the yellow light after an impossibly short time.


The City of New York is being sued over the “discovery” that the yellow light duration of some intersections was about 17% too short. The lawsuit claims this was intentional, to increase ticket revenue. The simple fact that the yellow lights were set wrong will not be sufficient to win. At the least, they will have to be able to show the relevant intersections’ lights were reset at or after the time the cameras were installed.


Yeah slow down and get caught in the middle of the intersection lol


Does something about that surprise you?


It should also be noted that one must take into consideration whether you can stop for the red light or go through the yellow light. If stopping to short the car behind you can hit you.


Jeepers. At least the crowd in some parts of MO, who many consider to be too incompetant enough to drive, (mush less, read a book), were smart enough to shut this nonsense down in a heartbeat.
#1. A person accused of a crime has a right to face his accuser in a court of law. An inanimate object cannot accuse you of anything; much less show up in a court of law.
#2. These ‘inanimate objects’, the camaras, were owned, and run, by an entity outside of law enforcement.
#3. They were also proven to cut the yellow light signal short only where the camaras were.

Bye, bye, camaras, and that nonsense!!!


Oops. D/P.



The reason for all these scams is the public’s acceptance of using the force of law to punish citizens whose actions could have violated the Rights of others instead of for violating the Rights of others.

Can I copy and paste this to the thread involving cell phone usage while driving?




Sadly, no it doesn’t surprise me.



Let’s just say I’m so completely frustrated with so-called self-programed (oops, meant to say “proclaimed”), ‘conservatives.’
…right up until their ox is getting gored.
No, they’re ***NOT!***!!!
They don’t even make me mad anymore. They make me ill.

Here’s the link in the Cigar Lounge, if you care to follow it:


Dukes of Hazzard all over again. move the stop sign behind a bush.


No kidding. Yet, you’ll find plent of Republicans and/or self-proclaimed conservatives in favor it.

and people wonder why I give up.


[quote=“2cent, post:19, topic:37263”]
No kidding. Yet, you’ll find plent of Republicans and/or self-proclaimed conservatives in favor it.

and people wonder why I give up.
[/quote]No surprise. Many Repubbies here condone Homosexual marriage, abortion and amnesty for illegals.
I personally do not have a cell phone, so I have no dog in this hunt. I do, however, write many car loans for people who crashed while texting, or talking on a phone. It is a problem that needs some attention, but that is a matter for someone with more skin in the game, than I have. I used to be in favor of ticketing drivers for cell phones, but I see that I was wrong, and have changed my view.