Fractions of a second have made the City of Chicago millions of dollars. Since shortening the duration of its yellow lights earlier this year, Chi Town has dished out an additional 77,000 red light tickets to bring in $8 million.
The city would never flat out admit to chasing more money, but it's hard to draw any other conclusion here. It's not even clear if red light cameras increase safety in the first place. "If the machine is set to catch more people and generate more revenue, then it does not really seem to be about safety but about revenue,” says Joseph Schofer, a professor of transportation at Northwestern.
As fucked up as this all sounds, there doesn't appear to be anything we can do about it. The only yellow light regulation in place is the U.S. Department of Transportation's recommendation for a three-to-six-second duration.