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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Monday September 20th, 2010 :: 02:47 p.m. EDT


Red, Green, Yellow and Blue Traffic Lights?

Failure to properly stop at a red light causes over 100,000 crashes, 89,000 injuries, and over 1000 fatalities nationwide each year. The amount of public expenses attributed to red light running exceeds $7 billion. In a survey performed by Old Dominion University, 55.8 percent of Americans admit to running red lights; yet 96 percent of drivers were afraid of being hit by a red light runner.

Have you ever noticed you usually catch up to the violator at the next intersection within a matter of minutes? Yes, I know it’s tempting to roll down your window and ask them if their reckless actions were really worth risking innocent lives; but remember last week’s article about the dangers of road rage and the importance of resisting the temptation to give these drivers a piece of your mind.

Speaking of frustrations – in the past police officers were actually losing red light tickets in court if they could not testify that they observed the color of the light at the time of the violation. An officer who spotted a red light violation from the opposite direction could not provide this testimony and therefore the case was thrown out. Due to the diligence and dedication from members of the Seminole County Community Traffic Safety Team a solution was developed to increase safety at intersections which is also legally supported.

The team’s solution is known as confirmation lights which are either white or blue lights affixed to the top of a traffic signal. The lights are directly wired into the circuit of the red signal indicator therefore it is illuminated simultaneously with the red light. Because confirmation lights are visible from any angle officers can now enforce red light violations from any direction at an intersection and have their testimony upheld in a court of law. The original confirmation lights were white however the new and improved ones are blue LED lights which are not only brighter but last twice as long.

While researching this topic I located some interesting statistics and perhaps an answer to the infamous question of, “Hey officer, why don’t you stop picking on me and go catch a real criminal like a murderer or drug dealer?” Actually I’m not sure that’s a question but here are the facts: Nationwide a murder occurs every 32 minutes, but did you know a traffic fatality occurs every 12 minutes – an aggravated assault occurs every 37 seconds, but did you know a traffic related injury occurs every 11 seconds – annually over 900 lives are lost to murder, but over 3,000 lives are lost in fatal traffic crashes. The point is traffic enforcement is not more or less important than catching a murderer or drug dealer but can certainly be viewed as an important aspect of law enforcement in keeping society safe.

Drive safe!

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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