The city of Denton is expanding a pilot program which traffic engineers say is designed to make intersections with red light cameras safer.
In April of last year, the timing of yellow lights at the intersection of West Oak Street and Carroll Boulevard was extended by a full second. One result, according to city officials, was a significant drop in the number of tickets issued to people who run red lights.
Beginning March 1, the program is being expanded to two traffic signals at Interstate 35E and U.S. Highway 377. More red light tickets are issued for violations at that intersection, than any of the other 10 cross streets in Denton with red light cameras.
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Experts believe red light cameras result in fewer serious side-impact crashes.
"People are more aware of it," said Pritam Deshmukh, Denton's deputy city engineer. "The intensity of the accidents or severity of the accidents is much lower when you have the red light camera."
Critics said red light cameras result in more rear-end crashes. Some feel they are nothing more than a money grab for municipalities.
"I personally think it's a revenue source for the city," said Hayden Mooney, a Denton resident who has received "a couple" of tickets.
"Both times I got them, either I would have to slam on my breaks or I had traffic behind me," he said.
The debate over red light cameras even splits families.
"I don't mind them," said Emily Mooney, Hayden's wife. “I feel if the light is turning red you should stop, and not go through it."
The city of Denton is debating whether to keep red light cameras, or end the program. The city's contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, which operates the cameras, expires in July.