12/8/2005Rhode Island DOT Releases Red Light Camera Guidelines
Rhode Island DOT officials propose minor restrictions on the use of red light cameras.
Rhode Island cities interested in installing red light camera systems will need to meet new guidelines proposed the state's department of transportation. If adopted, the rules would provide a somewhat greater amount of protection to motorists than regulations found in other states.
The most significant change will require an engineering study of each camera-monitored intersection with the yellow signal time set according to the 85th percentile speed. A common trick used in states like California is to determine the yellow time based upon the posted speed limit, which can be significantly less than the actual speed of traffic. A Texas Transportation Institute study showed adding a second of yellow to the ITE minimum reduced violations by 53 percent and crashes by 40 percent.
The rules also mandate a 0.2 second grace period before a camera may issue a ticket. Although a "violation" 0.2 seconds after the light has turned red will be invisible to the naked eye, many states do not even have a minimum requirement. Split-second violations can be responsible for as much as 88 percent of tickets, according to the California State Auditor's report.
Cranston, Providence, Middletown and Warwick have considered installing the devices. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting on its proposal on January 4. A full copy of the rules is available in a 711k PDF file at the source link below.