Atlantic Cities

Scheme of the Day: Florida's Secret Plan to Cause More Traffic Violations

Scheme of the Day: Florida's Secret Plan to Cause More Traffic Violations
Shutterstock/Mike Flippo

Oh, Florida. What are we going to do with you.

Not only can the Sunshine State boast of being America's most dangerous state for pedestrians, it is also, as Tampa's 10 News investigators discovered, the home of a cagey maneuver to lower the duration of yellow lights.

Why would Florida want to do that? Drivers running red lights means more accidents and deaths!

It also means more money from fines. As Noah Pransky writes on Florida Today:

"While yellow light times were reduced by mere fractions of a second, research indicates a half-second reduction in the interval can double the number of RLC citations -- and the revenue they create... Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida communities, with 52.5 percent of the revenue going to the state. The rest is divided by cities, counties, and the camera companies. In 2013, the cameras are on pace to generate $120 million."

In 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation struck a "whichever is greater" clause from the state's traffic light regulations, freeing most local governments to shorten their own yellow light durations. In some cases, the yellow light got shorter by as much as a full second.

Top image: Shutterstock/Mike Flippo.

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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