From the Newspaper.com with our comments (of course):
Georgia: Longer Yellows Force City to End Red Light Camera Program
New Georgia law forces longer yellow times that made red light cameras unprofitable in Norcross.
The Norcross, Georgia City Council voted Monday to end its relationship with LaserCraft Inc., a red light camera company whose US headquarters lies just three miles down the road from city hall. LaserCraft's troubles began last year when the Georgia General Assembly enacted a law requiring the yellow signal warning time at any intersection equipped with a red light camera be increased by one second over the minimum national standard. City documents show that once the law took effect, the accident and red light violation problem in Norcross virtually disappeared.
WHAT???? Well how can that possibly be one might ask? Unless of course you are one of the many municipal councilmen/women across the country that have been prostituting their souls to betray there citizens in order to feed at the pig trough provided by the Red light camera companies."With House Bill 77 we are now required to add one second to that... yellow light time," Norcross Police Chief Dallas Stidd wrote in a memo to the city council. "We along with other jurisdictions have seen a significant decrease in citations. This will cause a shortfall in our budget for this program."
Whoops, we can see it coming can't we??? Decrease in citations must mean decrease in red light running which must mean fewer accidents and lives lost as a result of success at addressing red light running which hurts the budget????. That's what I read. What did you read?A pair of red light cameras operated throughout 2008 with the shorter yellow time, allowing LaserCraft to mail an average of fifteen tickets per day on the city's behalf. After the yellow was lengthened on January 1, 2009, that figure dropped eighty percent to just three tickets per day -- with devastating effect on the program's bottom line. In 2008, motorists paid $259,083 in citations. According to Stidd's calculations, the longer yellow meant the automated ticketing program would lose $145,000 in 2009.
"The addition of one second has made a significant reduction in red light violations," Stidd wrote. "We have realized a reduction in accidents at the two intersections."
O.K. this was the goal wasn't it??? Or was it the money lost? Hmmmmm let us see.......According to a Texas Transportation Institute study, the reduction in accidents and violations from an additional second of yellow was to be expected (view study). This is so because red light cameras do not typically issue very many tickets to blatant red light runners. The vast majority of "violations" happen when drivers misjudge the end of the yellow light by less than 0.25 seconds -- literally the blink of an eye (view TTI chart). According to a report by the California State Auditor, nearly 80 percent of that state's tickets were issued for violations that took place less than one second into the red. By adding the second back into the yellow, that 80 percent disappeared in Norcross.
Oh damn, sum bitches are using "Science" now. That's gonna screw the Georgia boys up big time (I would mention the Florida municipalities that use red light cameras. But the Florida Legislature has not yet figured out the difference between science and "pissing in the wind." This is demonstrated by their continued efforts to exempt hands free use of cell phones from any legislation addressing use of cell phones and driving (see here, here, and here). For the past couple of years the Florida legislature has had the opportunity to choose between stupid and fact. Stupid has won every time, so we can't break to hard on the Georgia boys.
The extra second also brings yellow signal times closer to those that would be appropriate under the 1976 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standard. Around the time transportation officials began experimenting with photo enforcement, ITE began to change the timing formula so that it would consistently produce shorter yellows. As data from Fairfax County, Virginia show, the benefit of reversing these changes and lengthening yellows does not diminish over time.
Stidd's work was not done, however. He saw the loss of the Norcross red light camera program as an opportunity to expand his police department.
"Traffic safety and enforcement go hand in hand, being one of the highest priorities for the city," Stidd wrote. "However, I believe we can continue to accomplish this objective without losing money, especially in these difficult times.... I have compiled some traffic statistics and have come to a conservative number of projected revenue of the additional two traffic officers. The monthly revenue that could be realized is $11,578.00 or $602,056.00 yearly (see attached estimated weekly fines)."
In an attachment, Stidd calculates how much revenue each officer would be expected to bring in on a weekly basis from twelve categories of traffic ticket, ranging from driving with expired tags and speeding to driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (view ticket quota). These numbers are very important to Norcross, as traffic tickets account for one-fifth of the city's entire budget.
"Fines and Forfeitures are 21 percent ($2.4 million) of the revenue," the fiscal 2008 budget stated. "Revenue from fines and forfeitures has been projected by trend analysis and expert consensus. There is a six percent increase over 2007. The increase is due to the Public Safety Department installation of an additional red light camera. Although the additional camera generates additional revenue, its main purpose is to act as a traffic safety device."
Ummmm were thinking maybe that last sentence was a little disingenuous. Especially when you consider the, we must admit admirable, creativity with which Stid can turn the loss of red light cameras into gain of police officers???? But hey we understand. He is a police chief, it is his job to figure out how to get more "police money". And if you can't get TARP monies then well hell invent a crime wave or something. But hang on cause we are saving the best for last.......
Losing the Norcross contract is an embarrassing blow to LaserCraft, which is owned by the UK firm Public Safety Equipment Ltd. When the Australian photo enforcement company Redflex Traffic Systems similarly lost its contract to operate red light cameras in Scottsdale, Arizona -- home base for its US operations -- it packed up and moved to Phoenix.
A copy of the police chief's memo is available in a 650k PDF file at the source link below.
Excerpt from House Bill 77 which was signed into law on May 14, 2008:Source: Agenda File Number: 08-1185 (Norcross, Georgia City Council, 3/2/2009)
40-14-22. The duration of the yellow or red light of any traffic-control device at which a traffic-control signal monitoring device is installed shall not be decreased prior to the installation of a device or during the time for which the device is operated. The Department of Transportation shall establish minimal yellow light change interval times for traffic-control devices at intersections where a traffic-control signal monitoring device is utilized. The minimal yellow light change interval time shall be established in accordance with nationally recognized engineering standards, and any such established time shall not be less than the recognized national standard plus one additional second.... This Act shall become effective December 31, 2008.
O.K. Now, that's the end of the little article, right?. Ah ha, so you might think. Silly us, we opened up that little ADOBE thingy and found the best part of the whole damn story. From page 3:
"The traffic unit at present has one officer and two K9 units, the K9 main focus is support of the patrol division."
Now I don't much care how or what I say in reference to critters but every time I mention cats or dogs I get e-mail. And I will still contend that kitties in the middle of the road are road hazards no matter how much I love my own kitty, here kitty kitty, want a 9 volt battery? Anyway I digress, but Norcross has 37 sworn officers to cover 4.5 square miles. It is close to equal with the U.S. average of cop per one thousand residents yet it's crime rate is more than double the U.S. average per capita (2003-2006)
It does however have fewer traffic fatalities on average than the rest of the state of Georgia except when it comes to pedestrians. They did kill one more pedestrian on average.
We did find listings for 8 donut shops in Norcross. Which comes to what, a little less than 2 donut shops per sq. mile? Are we beginning to see a pattern here? See we can be just as creative with facts and figures as the chief can.
Gwinnett county, home of Norcross, had a lower rate of deaths caused by cancer than the state of Georgia as a whole.
O.k. now nobody is ever going to accuse us of being mathematically adept but our cypherin arrives at the followin conclusions:
1. The one traffic cop and the two doggies are bustin ass and doin a bang-up job.
2. The 36 other cops are fallin down on the job and need to be replaced with cameras
3. There are two many damn donut shops in Norcross
4. Donuts prevent cancer
See Chief, we can play too!Add to Technorati Favorites