“THE DILEMMA ZONE” (Forum)


The basic definition of The Dilemma Zone is the point between a vehicle and an intersection that is difficult to navigate because it offers two dangerous solutions:

1. Pass through the intersection on a yellow or “deep yellow” to avoid a sudden stop.

2. Brake heavily to slow the vehicle to a stop at an uncomfortable pace to avoid entering the intersection

Both choices have their merits and good drivers are able to identify the proper one if they are alert and free of distraction. Red Light Cameras (RLCs) were introduced with the promise of “modifying driving habits.” There’s no doubt that they do just that. However, accidents have been proven time and time again to increase when RLCs are added to an intersection, especially the rear end types.

Longer yellow lights and intersection sensors have so far proven to be much more effective than signal enforcement as a means of improving safety, but no solution is perfect.

Is there any argument to be made that RLCs are not for revenue generation? Is it possible for surveillance to serve any purpose in an intersection other than to track driving/traffic patterns? How could capturing “violations” or the movement/registration of a vehicle/driver improve safety at all?

33 Responses to “THE DILEMMA ZONE” (Forum)

  1. A driver not paying attention to a deep yellow or red light is never stopped by a red light camera.

  2. photoradarscam says:

    I contend that EVERY driver who’s been driving any length of time has approached an intersection during the dilemma zone and (technically) made the wrong decision, leading to running a red light by a mere fraction of a second. Is this unsafe and a bad idea? Sure. Is this particularly dangerous? No. Most of the time the violations still occur during the “all red” or “all clear” time frame during which there should be no traffic at all, and worst case, it’s during the first fraction of a second of a green for the cross traffic, and unless they’re drag racing, most of the cross traffic has yet to make much if any progress into the intersection to pose any kind of a hazard.

    If we want to punish those who make an occasional poor error in judgment – one that all of us have probably made a few times in our driving careers – then that’s a sad state of society. Clearly, adding extra yellow time is a cost-free and logical thing to do in order to make up for the occasional dilemma zone misjudgment.

    And then you must always question how taking a picture of someone who has made an error in judgment in the dilemma zone and notifying them WEEKS LATER is going to have any effect on their driving habits. Furthermore, you also have to remember that more than 25% of the time the WRONG PERSON (the registered owner) rather than the DRIVER will be receiving the ticket. A lot of good that does. And of course, that assumes that the person’s plate is visible, they aren’t wearing a mask, hiding, foreign, driving a company car, etc.

    • Well said.

      Let me also throw out an endorsement for continuing driver education. In my opinion, if more motorists participated it could make the roads in Arizona a lot safer and more pleasant.

      • jgunn says:

        Yep, that is a big reason why I have my tattler GPS device (now 99$!) on my dash to warn me when there will be an attempt to get me in a position where I cannot stop in time for the light and get a 200$ ticket. “Red light camera ahead, speed limit 35, attention overspeed”

  3. Zebra says:

    The dilemma zone is further compounded in AZ by the fact that the edglegal intersection is NOT neccesarily where the lines are. In some cases, the stop bar (where you were taught you should stop) is 40 to 50 feet back from the ‘intersection.’ These intersections, poorly designed to begin with, were the ones chosen by ARS to place the cameras.

    You don’t even have to exercise ‘poor judgement’ to get a ticket at these. Once in about every 100 left turn approaches to these intersections, timing is such that it is impossible to avoid a ticket if you maintain your speed. The only way to avoid getting a ticket is to SPEED UP!!

    And TPD, DPS, Tucson Municipal Court, Tucson Traffic Engineers, and ATS all know this. But they just can’t wean themselves off the money.

    • Cathy says:

      Right on, Zebra. To reiterate, one need not “make an occasional poor error in judgment” to receive a red light ticket. When I’m used to a 4.0 second left yellow arrow and all of a sudden, without warning, it’s only 3.0 seconds, PLUS I suddenly have to cover an extra 40 feet I had no idea I was “legally” obligated to cover (in order to make it over a fabricated “violation line” which the FHWA has ruled illegal), THAT’S not poor judgment on my part.

      That’s the city of Tucson intentionally effing with the traffic laws to CREATE “red-light runners.”

  4. jgunn says:

    Same thing with the freeway cams. Guess what there are in both directions on the freeway at I10 and 16th street?:

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/12/28/20091228abrk-rollover1228.html#comments

    Several lanes of eastbound Interstate 10 were closed for over an hour Monday morning, after two cars and a trailer rolled over near the 16th Street exit.

    • photoradarscam says:

      On Xmas Eve heading north on I-17 I passed a camera van and right there was a tow truck pulling a van out of a wreck in the median. Hmmm, I wonder why they went off the road?

    • ProCamera says:

      Looked at images on Fox 10. This was a truck hauling 2 cars on a trailer. The Trailer flipped under the 16th St Bridge (Well Past the cameras going eat bound). The truck did not flip, the trailer that the cars were hauled on flipped which in turn tossed the cars upside down on the roadway.

      There was also a huge 20+ car pileup near Casa Grande. It couldn’t have been the dust storms on that one, it had to be the Traffic Cams that may or may not have been on the roadway in the area.

  5. Of course it’s about revenue. Redflex, ATS, etc are NOT non-profit organizations so no one can deny it’s about revenue.

    • Mark S says:

      Caught with their pants down again. Great video!

    • Brent says:

      Get ready ATS (and Redflex), there’s more to come.

      You’re gonna be confronted almost daily.

      Everyone knows its all about money.

      Now everyone knows its also about corruption.

      Mr. Kent and Mr. Fritz and their cronies should leave this disgusting corporation which will be legislated out of existence and have their former employees blacklisted on 11/2/10.

  6. JOKN says:

    AWESOME VIDEO “GO CAMERA FRAUD GO”

  7. Stacey says:

    Odd. If a driver was afraid, wouldn’t they just drive away?

  8. Stacey says:

    We KNOW these employees are liars. We have one who likes to come here and post lies.

  9. B says:

    The only remaining arguments I’ve heard for RLCs, in spite of the higher accident data (that CBS LA expose on the LAPD and their attempted cover up was worth its weight in gold), is something like this:

    “Sure, property accidents are up. However, it still saves lives because major injury accidents are still down. Even if it’s just a little, that makes a difference, right?”

    OR

    Quoting some insurance data: “The cost per accident is down $X dollars overall at these intersections because the cost of major injury accidents is much higher than a simple rear end job.”

    Of course, they ignore data at some RLC intersections shows that major injury accidents are indeed up, but that doesn’t stop them.

    I of course believe that longer yellows are the right answer, but that’s not going to stop pro-camera people from saying, “Then let’s lengthen the yellow lights AND keep the cameras. We can’t be too safe, can we? Think of the lives you’re saving!” (Of course, they can rarely quote data, but hey – it sounds good.)

    And around, and around the circle goes…

    • Cathy says:

      Has enough data even been collected (by nonpartisan orgnanizations, if any still exist) to suggest that injury/fatality accidents are down at RLC intersections? I mean, honestly, I hate red-light runners (the REAL, intentional, drunk-or-high-or-just-plain-crazy ones that blast through 5 seconds after the light has turned red), but does anybody really believe that a RLC would deter this type of driver?

      What goes on in the minds of these red-light runners who allegedly have adopted reformed habits as a result of the RLCs? “In my crack-induced stupor, I WAS gonna blow through that intersection, likely totaling my vehicle and possibly killing myself and/or others, but now that there’s a red light camera there, I could face a $300 fine, so forget it, I’ll just stop.”? Not likely.

      If injury accidents happen to be down at RLC intersections, it’s likely because the volume at those intersections is down, due both to a sagging economy (less people out and about) and people intentionally avoiding those intersections because they don’t trust their city’s traffic engineers.

    • photoradarscam says:

      I’ve never been convinced that having “cheaper” property accidents is a big deal. If you are un-inusured, your car probably isn’t worth much and any damage will pretty much total it. If you do have insurance, it doesn’t matter how much the damage is. You could argue that more expensive damage means more employment because that means more replacement cars purchased or more money spent at LOCAL body shops.

      I guess the remaining argument would be that they *could* lead to lower insurance rates, but somehow I don’t see insurance rates going down no matter what. For example, auto thefts are down significantly in Arizona, but I haven’t seen a drop in my rates. And it’s unlikely that putting cams at a few locations around the state will have that much of an overall impact on insurance company costs.

  10. Jason N. says:

    Are you guys going to any of the signature gathering events? We need to get more signatures for the Initiative!

    • Brent says:

      Jason, there’s nothing on the calendar.. If you have details on worthy events we should participate in, lets get them posted on the calendar..

  11. Sure says:

    Photo radar news around the world:

  12. Nice post. The information in your article is very useful for me. I like the Dilemma Zone’s content.
    I’ll come back and read some more of your articles.

    I really like this part of your writing:

    Longer yellow lights and intersection sensors have so far proven to be much more effective than signal enforcement as a means of improving safety, but no solution is perfect.

    Keep the great job!
    Pearl

  13. Dini Forum says:

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  14. Yun Midyett says:

    Great information. Thanks a lot!

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