Sioux Falls police cracking down on red light runners

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls police are using new technology to help catch drivers who run red lights.

This spring, the city’s traffic division in cooperation with the Sioux Falls Police Department installed what are being called “red light enforcement beacons” at intersections where right light violations regularly occur.

The blue LED bulbs are mounted to backs of traffic signals and turn on when a light turns red, thus allowing an officer to tell if a signal is red from different angles.

Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns told the Argus Leader on Monday that it can be challenging for officers to safely enforce red light laws when they are not in traffic and unable to clearly tell if the light was red before a car entered the intersection.

“If you don’t have the right angle … you can’t enforce it,” Burns said. “It’s using a little bit of technology to help us do that more efficiently and more safely.”

The blue lights were installed in early April at seven intersections. So far, officers have issued eight red light citations at those intersections, the police chief said.

Officials will monitor those intersections to see how successful they are in helping officers enforce traffic laws and reduce the frequency of red lights being run, crashes and injuries, Sioux Falls Principal Traffic Engineer Heath Hoftiezer said.

Hoftiezer said other U.S. cities have had success with the red light enforcement beacons. Bismarck, North Dakota, has the beacons installed at 107 of the city’s 133 intersections that have signals, according to the Bismarck Police Department.

“We’re going to rely on the Police Department (to determine) if they’re useful,” Hoftiezer said.

To date, Sioux Falls has spent more than $6,200 purchasing and installing the beacons.

Categories: South Dakota News