According to TheNewspaper.com, the city council in Billings, Montana, voted last week to hurriedly approve new automated red-light cameras – conveniently just before they are scheduled to be banned by the state legislature. With a potential clause allowing existing cameras to be grandfathered into legality still in negotiations, Billings would appear to be attempting to load up on the devices before the revenue-enhancing opportunity closes.
Making the action even more suspect, TheNewspaper.com is reporting that Billings Chief of Police, Rich St. John (right), is apparently endorsing cutting the duration of the yellow warning lights during the signal changes to further raise revenue. "Changes in the yellow times after red light camera systems are in place and operational will affect the number of photographed violations, increasing the number of violations...," said St. John in a recent memo. While cutting one second from the yellow light may boost ticket income by 110 percent (according to a 2004 Texas Transportation Institute study), it may also increase crashes by up to 225 percent, according to the same study. Addressing the concern in his memo, Chief St. John seems to be content with his solution of simply proving residents with "public information announcements" alerting them to the quicker lights.

[Source: TheNewspaper]

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