Red light runners, why do they do it?

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Get caught running a red light in Tyler, and you could get slapped with a $300 fine. That begs the question: Why do we do it?

He sits...and waits...and eventually...he gets one...

"It's one of the most common traffic related complaints that we get," said Sgt. Brian Tomlin, a traffic unit supervisor with the Tyler PD.

"Traffic backs way up, and then when it gets ready to change," said Collin Reynolds, a driver. "They're not going to sit there and wait for it."

"And, by the time they hit that intersection, it's red," said Deb Tenison, who moved to Tyler a month ago.

Tomlin says the reasons for running, well, run the gamut.

"Use of a cell phone," said Tomlin. "Stopped behind an 18-wheeler and they will actually follow that 18-wheeler through the light. They're in a hurry to get somewhere, that's why they push the envelope."

It is issue number one in attorney Keith Miller's ads. He says, each year, about a third of his clients get hit by red light runners. There has been nearly two dozen accidents at Broadway an the Loop this year.

"If you can't follow the basic rules of the road, I don't think you should drive," said Miller.

Traffic Engineer Peter Eng says too many people and not enough patience is tough to balance.

"If you're getting a red light, that means I'm getting a green light, and vice versa," said Eng. "We basic cut up the pie in different pieces."

But, he's trying. Signals that only count seconds and not cars are on their way out. The south Broadway corridor was retimed a month ago. He says red light runners only slow things down.

"The computer wasn't anticipating passing through that number of vehicles," Eng said.

Not every car can get through. That's why new computers constantly keep tabs on intersections, and traffic, giving more greens where and when they're needed.

There are about 140 traffic lights inside the City of Tyler at peak hours, it's estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people are moving throughout the city.

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