A new report AAA of New York State seems to indicate that yellow (or amber) lights in New York City just don’t give drivers enough time to make their turn safely. This is bad news for drivers trying to make their turn, but good news for New York City which has begun using red light traffic cameras to catch drivers who fail to yield when the light changes.

Coincidence? Perhaps, but the fact that green lights turn to red lights at intersections in NYC change too quickly is not in dispute. The study makes it clear that traffic lights are slower there than they should be.
In fact, according to the AAA study, they are about 15 percent shorter than they should be. The standard time for a yellow light, according to the Department of Transportation, should be three seconds for the typical 30 mph intersection, but nearly all New York City traffic lights are less than three seconds

As the study makes its rounds some are already beginning to whisper that the issue is really a conspiracy created by the city to help increase revenues. They shorten the time a driver has to turn legally and set up red light cameras to catch drivers who are not quite quick enough.

The fact is, however, there is no standard requirement for the duration of a yellow light. It could be three seconds, five seconds or no seconds at all. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city against the findings of the AAA report and even went as far as suggesting that perhaps having an amber light was too much encouragement for drivers to speed through intersections.

In the meantime, NYC drivers should use caution and be aware that the city is watching. Always.