Thursday, April 3, 2008


After Monday's incident you think I would learn. But this evening I got popped at the EXACT SAME intersection. There is just not a chance in hell I could stop at that yellow light without skidding into the intersection or getting rear ended. I know that Orleans Parish is all "No tickets will be issued for vehicles entering the intersection on a yellow signal" (Robert Mendoza in the T-P), but the same article claims that Jefferson Parish has a similar policy yet motorists are getting ticketed and some officials say that is correct.

In Jefferson, officials announced a similar policy, issuing a Nov. 16 news release that said drivers would get a ticket only if the light is "fully red before the car enters the intersection. Entering the intersection while the light is still yellow does not constitute a violation."

Some drivers claim, however, that they have been ticketed even when the light turned red after they had entered a Jefferson intersection.

In fact, there appears to be confusion even among top Jefferson officials about what the policy is.

Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson said his understanding is that if the light turns red while in an intersection, "you're getting a ticket." Saying the light was yellow when the motorist entered the intersection is no excuse, he said.

"Yellow means you should stop," Wilkinson said.

Bert Smith, Jefferson's deputy chief administrative officer, said the original announcement was correct. However, he said, drivers need to understand what constitutes "entering the intersection."

In Louisiana, that is defined as when a motorist crosses the "line of prolongation," an imaginary line extending across the intersection from the curbline of the cross street. It is the point at which a motorist enters the path of crossing traffic.

That line defines the start of the intersection, not the broad white lines in front of the pedestrian crosswalk, Smith said. In Jefferson Parish, a motorist who crosses the pedestrian crosswalk after the light turns red won't trigger a ticket, but if any part of the vehicle crosses the thin line of prolongation on a red light, it's a ticket, he said.

Theoretically I shouldn't get popped for these "offenses." Even I were speeding, it's only Orleans Parish that tickets you for that. However, I just don't believe that some cop is going to sit there and review every car that got busted in the intersection compared to the moment the light turned red in order to save my ass a $110 ticket.

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