MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Keeping South Florida drivers safe at busy intersections, without the use of controversial red-light cameras, will be on the agenda for Miami-Dade County Commissioners on Tuesday.

Commission Chairman Joe Martinez plans to introduce legislation that would 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.

“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.

“One of the most dangerous aspects of crossing an intersection is that you never know when someone will run a red light and possibly hit you while you’re lawfully crossing the intersection,” said Chairman Martinez. “As the traffic lights in intersections transition from red to green, it may be more beneficial to have all lights turn red for a few moments in order to clear the intersection and reduce accidents.”

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.

Comments (7)
  1. Felix El Gato says:

    Miami-Dade intersections have to be the most dangerous in the country. Too many drivers regard red lights and stop signs as mere suggestions. Everybody else is busy texting or talking on the phone.

  2. John says:

    That’s not a solution. The problem is that the traffic lights stay on red or green TOO LONG and people fall asleep. It also create major traffic jams. Waste of gasoline and time.

  3. Henry says:

    The cameras (indirectly) block emergency vehicles – because cars stopped at a camera hesitate to get out of the way! Other side effects: Rearenders, $$$ sent to Oz, AZ or Goldman-Sachs, where it won’t come back, and tourists and shoppers driven away.
    Worse, a false expectation of safety, because cameras can’t stop the real late runners, who cause the accidents. (If cameras worked, camera sellers wouldn’t have the crash videos they supply to the media.)
    Want safety, no side effects? Increase the all red, as Chair Martinez suggests, and:
    -To cut car/pedestrian accidents, train your kids not to step out just ‘cuz the walk sign came on.
    -To cut nuisance running (a fraction of a second late), lengthen the yellows. It’s cheap to do so can be done all over town.
    -The dangerous real late (multiple seconds) runs won’t be stopped by the mere presence of a camera, because the runner won’t know (a tourist) or won’t remember (a distracted or impaired “local”) that there’s a camera up ahead. They’re not doing it on purpose! To cut these real late runs, improve the visual cues that say, “Intersection ahead.” Florida’s DOT found that better pavement markings (paint!) cut running by up to 74%. Make the signal lights bigger, add backboards, and put the poles on the NEAR side of the corner. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs for the cross streets.
    Who needs cameras and their side effects?

  4. M 2 says:

    Having the lights stay red both ways for four seconds may help at first, but once people notice what is happening, it will encourage more red light running, because they will think they have more time to make it through the intersection before the other light turns green.

  5. Emily says:

    With the various motion detection options available, isn’t it possible to verify a clear intersection and stationary, slowing, or absent cross traffic before allowing the switch to green?

    1. M 2 says:

      Yes, it absolutely would be possible. However, what incentive would red light runners have to stop if they knew the light wouldn’t change until they cleared the intersection?