Florida shortens yellow light times

Red-light cameras remain a hot topic of conversation for all drivers, but especially those responsible for shuttling goods around town as a part of a company fleet. Frequent drivers in some areas have noticed an increase in the number of these cameras within a metro area, while others have found cities are deliberately shortening yellow lights. Some drivers think this is part of an effort to increase the number of violators and enhance revenue received from red-light cameras, but government officials cite safety concerns as the main factor.

Florida drops yellow light times
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently changed its guidelines for yellow light times, shortening many yellow lights across the state. According to MSN News, federal guidelines recommend these lights be between three- and six-seconds long for drivers to pass an intersection safely. However, this gives individual states and cities room to change times, a move that has been made by many local governments. 

Florida is just the latest state to change its guidelines on yellow light times when it implemented an initiative that put the state's minimum below federal recommendations. This has allowed cities throughout the state to unexpectedly shorten yellow lights, angering drivers who spend much of their time on local roads that have red-light cameras or feel the shortened time is more dangerous.

FDOT claimed the shorter yellow lights were not intended to bring in additional revenue for the state. Driver advocacy groups and those who are on the roads asserted the contrary. According to an investigation by Tampa CBS affiliate WTSP, red-light cameras brought in more than $100 million in revenue in 2012 and are on track to generate more than $120 million this year.

The shortened times could have drivers avoiding certain intersections and roads to help them mitigate the risk of being ticketed by a too-short yellow light. This fear could be especially prevalent among small-business owners who have multiple trucks or vans making deliveries throughout a city or statewide.

As a result, some companies may implement the use of route planning software, which can help them take the most simplified route for direct store delivery and avoid intersections with notoriously short yellow lights. This can not only allow them to save money on gas, spend less time on the road and ensure deliveries are made on time, but also help them avoid incurring expenses from changing light times.