Letters to the editor, June 1
Hernando TodayRed light cameras and safety
Published: June 1, 2012
Published: June 1, 2012
Now that red light cameras are back, why not take this opportunity to try to find out if they are really about safety, or about revenue as claimed by critics? What if they cause an increase in crashes as claimed in a USF study?
Let's say that you are southbound, driving the speed limit of 40 mph, approaching the intersection of M.L. King Boulevard and Broad Street. The caution light comes on when you are somewhere around 150 feet from the light. Will you slam on your brakes to try to stop completely before the intersection, or keep going the speed limit to try to get completely through it before the light changes?
Consider that the caution light at this intersection was shortened to 3.5 seconds when the cameras were up last time, it could happen again.
My 2006 Florida Driver's Handbook says that "Reaction times in laboratories are 3/4 of a second. In the driving environment, your reaction time would be closer to 1.5 seconds." If that is the case, then with a caution light of 3.5 seconds, you would only have 2 seconds of braking time to get your car fully stopped from the posted limit of 40 mph. Or, you would have 2 seconds left to get the rest of the way to the intersection and completely through it.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers says that the minimum caution light time for a 40 mph speed limit is 4.5 seconds. According to Etienne Pracht, who worked on the USF study, intersection crashes go down as much as 80 percent if the yellow light interval is increased by one second.
I suggest that all caution light times in Hernando County be adjusted to the Institute of Transportation Engineers minimums, plus one second. Their minimums start at 3 seconds for 25 mph, then increase by a half second for each additional 5 mph. For the M.L. King intersection, the time would become 4.5 + 1, or 5.5 seconds total.
So let's try to find out if safety reasons justify the cameras, even if camera revenue falls with longer caution light times. Extend all caution light times as described, and compare old and new crash data to see if camera intersections are any safer than those without cameras. If the city won't do it, maybe the county will try it, at least at high crash intersections. It is about safety, right?
As pertaining to your story on May 30, and past stories on the subject of red light cameras in Brooksville.
In a way of protesting this obvious money grab by the town of Brooksville I no longer visit restaurants in the Brooksville area or activities on Main Street.
I live about the same distance from the same kind of food restaurants in Spring Hill, and attend more of the activities either there or in Pasco County. Some of these activities are: The Market on Main Street, art events, music shows and parades.
I would encourage others to also show their displeasure with the red light cameras by writing to town officials, newspaper and town businesses.