If an Arizona state lawmaker gets his way,
drivers in the state would get more warning time at intersections.
Sen. Dean Martin, R-Phoenix, has proposed
legislation that would give drivers at least four seconds to get into the
intersection before the light turns red.
Martin said the lack of state standards
creates uncertainty for drivers approaching a traffic light as to whether they
can cross legally. The result, he said, is not only confusion but also a lot of
red lights run – and collisions.
Recent findings appear to support Martin’s
In 2004, the Texas Transportation
Institute released a study that concluded increasing the yellow warning time by
one second could reduce crashes by 40 percent, the East Valley Tribune reported. Similarly, red light running
violations dropped 96 percent at a Virginia intersection that lengthened yellow
time by 1.5 seconds.
City traffic engineers, however, say
decisions on whether to change yellow times are best left to those trained to
figure out what is appropriate at each intersection, as current Arizona law
mandates. Some also say the proposal could create more traffic problems.
Martin said his legislation would allow
for exceptions to the four-second rule – but only for a “good cause” and with a
city council vote.
SB1001 will be discussed during the
legislative session that begins in January.