Slow the red light running "epidemic" by lengthening yellow light times

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KHOU-11 shows Mayor White a little love with this story on the “epidemic” of red light running:

Mayor Bill White says drivers who run red lights are “an epidemic”.

If you’re looking for lawbreakers who don’t like to wait for lights, you don’t have to wait long to find them in Houston. “The light is red now. One, two, three four. They just keep coming,” says HPD officer Cedric Nickerson.

Apparently, too many Houston drivers ignore red lights when it comes to scooting through an intersection.

For now, officers pull over violators when they can. “You slowed down but you didn’t stop,” Nickerson says to one driver. Mayor White wants to see more of that., which is why he wants a concerted effort at problem intersections

“We’ve got to have more tickets. For people running red lights. There has to be a consequence to it. And when there is, people will adapt,” says White.


That’s why Mayor White and the city council want to use cameras to catch violators.

But for now it will have to be the old fashioned way and, unfortunately, officer Nickerson could do it all day.

The city’s red light camera proposal is currently stalled in the state legislature, where there is an effort to block the city’s ability to have them. Mayor White expects that to be rectified one way or the other by the end of the session.

The story includes a list of the most dangerous intersections.

We’ve addressed this before: if the city was serious about reducing red light runners, it would lengthen yellow light times first, to curb the “epidemic.” What’s so strange is that KHOU had a story a while back about yellow light times, yet it’s never mentioned in today’s story.

Also, it’s interesting to remember that HPD’s manpower situation is not optimal right now, and yet the mayor wants to focus on this “epidemic.” Of course, the focus would be a nice revenue stream for the city.

We recommend the city try lengthening yellow light times by a couple of seconds at the worst intersections, if it’s truly all about safety.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.