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Police: Lights to warn officers of red light violators helping enforcement operations

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

Waco Police said officers have benefited from having confirmation lights at five intersection that helps them know if drivers ran a red light.

A light, usually located on the back of the traffic signal, turns on when the traffic signal turns red, which allows officers positioned downhill from the intersection to catch any violators.

Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said those lights have helped the police department with enforcement.

"They can look for the confirmation light and now that red light is red. What that helps us do in law enforcement is one officer can work an intersection instead of two officers," Swanton said.

Swanton said the confirmation lights are not meant to be a deterrent but to enforce traffic at those intersections.

The confirmation lights are at busy intersections, such as Waco Drive and Valley Mills Drive; Waco Drive and New Road; New Road and Bagby Avenue; Valley Mills and Franklin Avenue and 26th Street and Bosque Blvd.

Swanton said Bosque Blvd. and 26th Street is an area where drivers running red lights cause the majority of the crashes. 

"The intersection behind us is a particularly dangerous intersection. We work multiple crashes here at this intersection and a bunch of those have been fatality crashes," Swanton said.

Swanton said in general, seeing drivers run red lights in Waco is not out of the ordinary.

"It's a very common occurrence that we see, that our traffic unit see people running red lights. Obviously is very dangerous," Swanton said.

He said distracted driving is part of the issue. He advises drivers to check an intersection before crossing it, even if the light is green.

Mission Waco's Executive Director Jimmy Dorrell knows follows that advise closely. This after he said he experienced when a driver who ran a red light hit his vehicle on Waco Drive and 15th Street a few months ago.

"Just as I pulled out in the middle of the intersection, a guy flew into that open lane hit me. He could've killed me if it would've been half a second earlier," Dorrell said. 

Dorrell who has unharmed said the driver fled the scene. 

"It was a very terrifying experience after the fact. It happened so fast, there was no way to getting scared during it. It totaled my truck.The reality was it could've been the end," Dorrell said.

He said enforcement at several Waco intersections can be helpful but he doesn't believe it will deter everyone from running a red light.

"There are always going to be those who don't care about the tickets, the lights or anything else," Dorrell said.

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