Lawmaker Wants Longer Yellow Lights At ‘Photo Enforced’ Intersections

CHICAGO (CBS) – Every driver fears this scenario: They’re approaching a red-light camera intersection as the light turns yellow. Just as they’re scooting through, the light quickly turns to red.

Then they’ve got a $100 ticket.

But drivers may soon get some relief, CBS2’s Mike Parker reports.

A proposed new law coming out of Springfield would force traffic lights at “photo enforced” intersections to add one additional second to the length of the yellow light.

The bill’s author, state Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Barrington), says several cities and towns in other states have implemented the system.

“They’ve drastically improved safety,” Duffy said.

The added “yellow” time has not only cut back on accidents, but has also cut the number of red-light camera tickets being issued.

Chicago motorist Martin Ward got one of those tickets last month and says he thinks a longer yellow might have saved him from a ticket.

“It showed me just right in the middle of the intersection,” when the camera flashed, he said. “I think one more second would have gave it to me.”

Critics say Chicago’s red-light cameras are more about generating fines than about safety. Duffy says the whole red-light camera concept is about “nickel and diming people to death, every time they drive through an intersection.”

Mayor Emanuel’s office does not support Duffy’s idea.

“Lengthening yellow lights has adverse safety implications for drivers and pedestrians,” the mayor’s office said in a written statement.

“That’s mind-boggling,” Duffy says of Emanuel’s reaction. “Studies show that adding one second of yellow improves safety from 35 to 90 percent.”

A recent study by a University of Illinois traffic expert studied 39 Chicago intersections with red-light cameras and found the number of accidents actually increased after they were installed.

More from Mike Parker
  • Vladimir

    Why not have the green light begin blinking a few seconds before it turns yellow? This is how it is done in other countries. That way you see well in advance that the green will turn soon to yellow. That gives you more seconds to make a decision.

  • Craig

    When I started driving in 1968 there were still traffic lights with no yellow light. Since then they have added yellow lights, lengthened the timing of the yellow lights, then added a 2 to 4 second all-way red light for intersections and still people run the lights. Up until 1990 the Illinois Vehicle Code read a driver could not enter an intersection on the yellow. After 1990 the law was changed stating a driver could not enter the intersection on a red light. Just how much more lax can these restrictions get? The laws are so lax now it is already dangerous by design. It is not “Just one more second.” The laws have already gone from 0 second delay without a yellow light to the present 5 to 7 seconds and still no one stops.

    • Paul

      No, there were not any “traffic lights in 1968 with no yellow lights”. And the pre-1990 Illinois Vehicle Code prohibited a driver from entering an intersection on a yellow? Really?? What if you were one foot from an intersection, traveling a legal 30mph, when the light changed from green to yellow? Were you expected to stop your vehicle in the one foot distance, or clairvoyently anticipate the light change several seconds earlier?

      Don’t make stuff up in an effort to prove your point.

  • Dave

    One second longer?

    *falls out of chair — gets back up off of floor*

    How generous. How can we thank you?

  • non

    I have a better idea. Take the cameras out!

  • Don

    Rahm said they can have the Red Light Cameras cause he will have Speed Cameras up this year and Drones in the sky by next year.

  • Moone

    I for one support Duffy’s idea, anything to help mitigate the scam that the red light cameras are. All I’ve seen them encourage are people breaking suddenly or going dangerously slow approaching an intersection, particularly slamming on their breaks at a sudden yellow. Or the reverse happens, where they slam the gas if they are caught by the light turning yellow while in an intersection. Either one seems to be far more accident prone. There’s also a tactic to look at the count down don’t walk timers, and that’s exactly where you want a drivers focus and sight to be at, on a small box on the far corner of the intersection instead of the road…

  • Jason

    Duffy is useless; we deserve more action for our taxpayer money. He’s done nothing but hype himself. Please tell me there are more important topics in Chicago for him to have focused on all these years!

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