Getty Images, photo by J. D. Pooley

Seems like a small thing and it has been done quietly in Florida, but the Florida Department of Transportation has shortened the time on their traffic lights on how long they stay yellow before they turn red. They started the change in 2011 at key intersections in the state, mostly intersections that have red light cameras or RLC’s.

The change is a fraction of a second, but has resulted in more than a $100 million in fines. Studies show just a half-second change can result in drivers not being able to react to the change from yellow to red quick enough and can result in double the number of citations. The National Motorist Association believes the state made the change deliberately so they could give more tickets, which makes more money for the state and counties. The change from yellow to red is calculated under a complex formula with speed limits factored in. For instance, if the speed limit on the road is 25 mph, the yellow interval would be 3.0 seconds. If the speed limit is 50 mph, the yellow interval would be 4.7 seconds. It is believed Florida has reduced the reaction time from yellow to red in each zone. If the norm for 50 mph is 4.7 seconds, Florida reduced theirs to 4.3 seconds.