Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Re: “Red Light Leeway Stopped.” What constitutes “running a red light?” According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC), violations occur when a vehicle crosses a “limit line” at an intersection after a red signal has been displayed.

What is the definition of the City Council’s “grace period,” and why does it exist? A straightforward interpretation of “running a red light” would literally mean the same as running a stop sign.

If a vehicle, or a pedestrian, enters an intersection before the red light is displayed – now with a one-tenth-second margin of error, which camera accuracy is capable of determining ($$) – that vehicle or pedestrian has not violated the red light. Accidents do not occur within that first one-tenth second or five-tenths of a second…unless the opposing traffic is approaching at speed in order to enter the intersection at the exact instant a green light is displayed in their favor, or they are tunnel-visioned NHRA dragsters. At the camera-enforced intersections observed, the majority of conflicting traffic is stopped at a red signal.

Some talk-show hosts believe that if a vehicle’s rear bumper is still in the intersection when the red light is displayed, the driver has committed a violation. Not so, says the CVC!

After the City Council received the latest salary increase (staff also?), their attention turned not to water/sewer, and city departments in shambles, but to revenue-enhancement; closely following the state-of-the-art parking meters. “Why don’t people drive downtown anymore…?”

The majority of the camera-enforced intersections are all heavily traveled and with left turn lanes. Why not put safety ahead of revenue-enhancement? This can be enabled by delaying the green light for conflicting traffic by several seconds – not tenths of seconds, as is already done at numerous intersections where street width is taken into consideration.

Most of the wallet-lightening intersections have developed from poor planning, and a failing infrastructure improvement plan which has been made almost impotent by the greed, ignorance, and apathy of the city’s leadership.

Anyone having driven in the Los Angeles area knows that one does not proceed on green from a stop until five or six cars have run the red light from the left-turn lane!

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