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Insight from WFPD: Crackdown on red light violators

West Fargo Police will be conducting focused enforcement of red light violations in the coming weeks. Following citizen complaints and officer observations, the additional enforcement is deemed to be warranted. Controlled intersections on Sheyenne Street and 13th Avenue will receive initial attention. Additional intersections will also receive enforcement attention at a later date. Police plan to strictly enforce red light violations.

Police will place warning signs within the focused enforcement areas to notify the public of the police presence.

A red light violation occurs when a vehicle enters the intersection after the controlling traffic signal turns red. The intersection is defined as that portion of the road surface shared by the roadway you are traveling on and the intersecting roadway. An imaginary line drawn from corner to corner of the intersection forms the 'box' of the intersection. While a right turn on a red light is allowed at most intersections, the vehicle must come to a complete stop before entering the intersection.

Traffic signal timing is controlled according to protocol developed by the Federal Highway Administration and published in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. A mathematical formula is used to determine how long the traffic signal will remain in each of the three light configurations.

The green light phase is timed to provide the most efficient flow of traffic in relation to traffic volume and other controlled intersections within the immediate area. The yellow light phase is timed to allow vehicles to safely clear the intersection prior to cross traffic receiving the green light. The yellow light timing involves a more complex formula relating to posted speed limit of the roadway, roadway widths and safe braking distances. The red light phase is timed similar to the green light in that it is based on the same efficient flow of traffic criteria. The only difference is the red light will be lit in all directions for a short period of time to ensure all traffic has cleared the intersection.

Red light violations frequently result in devastating traffic crashes, due to the right angle contact between vehicles in such collisions. The probability of serious injury increases dramatically when the front of a vehicle strikes the occupant compartment of the other vehicle. Don't risk someone's life just to beat the red light.