A bill that would have given drivers in Arizona more warning time at
intersections is dead.
The Senate Transportation Committee rejected a bid to give drivers at
least four seconds to get into the intersection before the light turns red.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dean Martin, R-Phoenix, said the lack of state
standards creates uncertainty for drivers approaching traffic lights 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 idea.
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 Phoenix-area 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 bill
could have created more traffic problems.
Martin said his legislation, SB1001, called for exceptions to the
four-second rule – but only for a “good cause” and with a city council vote.