5/11/2006Nashville Police Cashing in on Short Yellow Lights
Nashville, Tennessee police make big money by trapping motorists at intersections with illegally short yellow times.
Even without red light cameras, police in Nashville, Tennessee have been earning hundreds of thousands in revenue by trapping motorists in conventional ticket traps at city intersections with the shortest yellow warning time. In 2000 and 2001, the department earned around $2160 in revenue on Broadway between Second Avenue and I-40. In 2002 and 2003, the number jumped to $88,000 and reached a peak of $160,000 in 2004. Police have issued 500 tickets worth $80 each in the first quarter of 2006, meaning they are on target to reach $160,000 by year's end.
Nashville resident Joe Savage obtained the data on every red light running ticket issued on Broadway since 2000. He contends that yellow lights are longer at intersections along Broadway until the areas where police are issuing tickets. At those locations, Savage clocked the yellow signal time at less than 3 seconds, in violation of both state law and federal regulations. The Nashville Scene confirmed his findings.
City Engineer Bob Weithofer put the blame for the ticketing spike on police. "We didn't change what we were doing; the police department changed what they were doing," he told the Nashville Scene.