MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Keeping South Florida drivers safe at busy intersections, without the use of controversial red-light cameras, is on the agenda for Miami-Dade County Commissioners Tuesday.
Commission Chairman Joe Martinez has introduced legislation designed to reduce red-light running and improve safety of intersections by implementing a four-second “all-red clearance interval.”
An “all-red” signal in the traffic light cycle briefly stops traffic in all directions.
Chairman Martinez wants the “all-red” signal changes at high crash and high volume intersections throughout Miami-Dade County and he wants the system to replace red light cameras which he says have become nothing more than cash cows for cities imposing an unfair, economic burden on citizens.
“I want to save lives. I want to prevent accidents without dipping into people’s pockets. That’s not the intent, the intent right here is let’s educate people, let’s stop these accidents, let’s save some lives. There are a lot of lives lost every year at intersection accidents alone,” said Chairman Martinez.
“All-red clearance intervals” studied by the AAA of Michigan and the City of Detroit have been found to be an effective way to reduce collisions at hazardous intersections. Chairman Martinez is hoping to bring similar changes to the synchronization of Miami-Dade street lights.
Martinez’ proposal against the hugely unpopular red light cameras may be quite unpopular in cities that make a lot of money off their red light camera programs.
Some county traffic engineers also oppose the idea of the 4-second red light delay saying drivers who are inclined to run red lights will still do so if they know they have an extra four seconds to get through the intersection.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intersectional accidents account for 48-percent of injury-related traffic accidents nationwide, and generate almost $101 billion of societal cost each year. These accidents are often caused by motorists trying to “beat” red lights, and these motorists are responsible for about 800 deaths and 200,000 injuries each year nationwide, according to insurance industry figures.