DelDOT: "No Major Changes" To Red Light Cameras - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

DelDOT: "No Major Changes" To Red Light Cameras

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BRIDGEVILLE, Del. -  Gary Johnson knows the feeling of running a red light at the U.S. 13 and Redden Road intersection in Bridgeville.

Last year, cameras caught Johnson at fault for driving past after the light changed to red. He says it was only a week later that he "got a letter in the mail" with picture proof and a fine totaling $112.50. A year later, Johnson still doesn't think he should be paying the fine.

"There shouldn't be no cameras at all. What's the purpose of the lights? I mean, it doesn't reduce the speed," Johnson says.

But Delaware Department of Transportation begs to differ and says, in their "Electronic Red Light Safety Program Report" for 2012, that the program has "greatly reduced the combined total number of crashes at red light monitored intersections since its inception." According to DelDot, total crashes at the 30 red light camera locations across the state were reduced by three percent in a five year study ending in December 2012.

Rear end crashes, however, were unchanged in the same time frame, which is one of the many complaints Delaware drivers told WMDT that needs to be changed. Debbie Tharp of Seaford, Del. says that drivers stopping short at a yellow light to avoid facing a ticket needs to change.

"They need to either make [lights] longer or get rid of them because there's a lot of people that don't like them," said Tharp.

"When [drivers] are close to the intersection and they see that yellow going to red, and they are really close to getting a ticket, they stop abruptly," said DelDOT safety programs manager Adam Weiser.

Currently, Delaware officials are now taking public comment on proposed revisions to the red light camera program. Executive Order 36, signed by Gov. Jack Markell (D) requires DelDOT and other agencies to examine any unnecessarily burdensome regulations and listen to public input. Among the revisions, written word of the "locations of traffic light signal monitoring systems." 

The proposal is written as: "DelDOT is specifically directed to identify intersections with high crash incidents as potential candidates for the placement of electronic red light camera systems. If a camera installation is performed on state-maintained streets or roads by an entity other than DelDOT, the Department must first approve such installation.

"In addition, the Department must approve the engineering of any new cameras installed. All intersections using a traffic control photographic system or other traffic light signal violation monitoring system must adhere to the exact duration of the yellow light change interval.

"This time period must be no less than the yellow light change interval duration specified in the design manual developed by the Department of Transportation."

Although some drivers may be upset and concerned, Weiser says DelDOT likely won't make any major changes to the red-light program. According to Weiser, the transportation organization is currently looking at bids for a new light vendor.

DelDOT must hear the public's opinion and is accepting such input through the end of August. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security will take written comments on the proposed all of the proposed regulations until August 31, 2013. Any requests for copies of the proposed Regulations, or any questions or comments regarding this document should be directed to:

Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety
P.O. Box 1321, Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-2740
Jana.Simpler@state.de.us
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