State Senator Jeff Brandes continues to pressure FDOT on 10 News' short yellow light investigation

9:46 AM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In response to 10 News' continued investigation into yellow light reductions at red-light camera intersections, State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) sent a  letter to Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad on Monday, advocating for an increase in the state's minimum intervals for yellow lights.

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TIMELINE: 10 News' Short Yellows Investigation

You can view the letter here or read below:

Secretary Prasad,

In my continued effort to work with the Department to address concerns over local and county governments' traffic infraction detection programs I believe that an immediate remedy can be implemented by the Department before the Legislature convenes in the 2014 Legislative Session to more permanently address the situation.

In your letter to Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford addressing various proposals to amend s. 316.075 F.S., dated April 19th, 2013, you indicated that:

"The Department is also currently evaluating its requirement for yellow clearance duration. For the past few years the Department's State Traffic Engineering & Operations Office has been reviewing past and current research related to the use of the ITE Formula, specifically the Perception-Reaction Time (PRT) value that is used in the ITE Formula. Since 1965, ITE has recommended a PRT value equal to 1.0 second be used, which is what Florida has been using, but current research by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Report 731), which is considered the major research component for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Federal Highway Administrative, has determined that a PRT value of 1.0 second is a mean value and that the 85th percentile PRT value is 1.33 seconds. Based on NCHRP 731 report and other similar research, the Department is contemplating increasing the PRT value that Florida is using from 1.0 second to 1.3 seconds."

While the Department does not have total authority over municipal and county roads with infraction detection devices installed, you indicated that s. 316.0776 F.S. requires counties and municipalities installing traffic infraction detectors on their roads to follow the placement and installation specifications developed by the Department.  

I support the Department's recommendation of raising the PRT value to 1.33 seconds for yellow clearance duration and I would ask that you alert the Florida Department of Transportation District offices, counties, and municipal governments of the research findings recommending the use of the 85th percentile PRT value of 1.33 seconds.

I am requesting an estimate of the time required to implement these changes. I would also ask that you submit any further legislative recommendations that will more permanently address this issue so that I may continue to work on proposals with my staff before the 2014 Legislative Session.

I am very appreciative of the responsiveness from your staff and the commitment that you have given me to work on this issue. I look forward to continuing to work with you and your staff before the 2014 Legislative Session to develop a more permanent resolution to this significant problem impacting Florida residents.

Brandes is the chairman of the Florida Senate's Transportation Committee.

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