Monday, May 27, 2013

Shorter yellow lights and intersection cameras as a playground for local-level cronyism

In a previous post (here), I linked to a news article out of Tampa, Florida that reported on the decision by local officials to quitely shorten the length of various yellow traffic lights as a means of generating additional revenue.  Apparently that story has made it to the national level, as a recent WSJ article exploring the unseemly relationship between traffic intersection monitoring firms and local municipalities attests (HT: Against Crony Capitalism):
Virtually all now understand that the best way to decrease crashes at problem intersections is a longer yellow. In Tampa, hundreds appear to have received tickets because a busy yellow was set at three seconds when the state minimum is 4.5. In Georgia, after a new state law adding a second to the yellow, several towns canceled their camera programs as no longer profitable.
There's a lot more of interest in Holman Jenkin's interesting, though infuriating, WSJ piece; find it here. You might also benefit from re-visiting a related OLS post from just over a week ago; you can find it here.