LEAGUE CITY, TX — More than 1,700 drivers given red light camera tickets in League City are due refunds, the city’s police chief said Monday.

The citations are being dismissed because the time it takes for the traffic light at FM 518 and Interstate 45 to change from yellow to red is less than state law requires....the time between a yellow light and a red light was 4 seconds, when the state requires it to be 4.7 seconds

A bill to prevent this so-called "short cycling" was recently introduced in the Arizona state legislature.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Berr's post Shorter Yellow Lights: Are They Your Town's Latest Cash Cow? points to the National Motorists Association's summary article, 6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit. Here are the yellow-light standard times.

At the Atlantic, Jon Henke observes:

The incentives involved for the government are very perverse. If you reduce the yellow light duration, you'll get a bit more revenue. If you lengthen the yellow light duration, you'll reduce accidents and save lives. So public officials choose to....reduce yellow light duration?

Shortening the yellow light below the minimum time is clearly wrong - i.e., illegal and unethical - but what about the more general disparity in yellow light duration? Some yellow lights last 4 seconds, others 5 seconds, others 6 seconds, etc. How can drivers make the stop/go decision with confidence when there is such a large disparity in yellow light duration?

A study conducted by Texas A & M University found that adding one second of yellow decreases crashes 35 to 40 percent and violations by 60 percent.

But Brian Steele, Chicago Department of Transportation director of communications, said he envisions more crashes if the city were to add an extra second of yellow (to the standard three seconds) at its intersections.

"We think it will decrease safety,” Steele said. “Motorists will use that extra second of time not to slow down but to speed up as an extension of their green time. We see that a lot in Chicago and we think we could see more....

We went to Chicago's top 10 revenue-grossing red light intersections...(and) time after time, each one clocked by FOX Chicago News came out to three seconds exactly....

In Skokie, Winnetka and Evanston we found yellow lights lasting more than four seconds, time after time after time.