Traffic safety experts are worried about drivers who run red lights because they can cause a lot of accidents and injuries. When a driver runs a red light and hits another car that is coming from the opposite direction, it is called a T-bone accident and it can be very bad for the people in both cars.
One way to prevent red-light running accidents is to make the yellow lights last longer. Studies have shown that when yellow lights last longer, fewer drivers run red lights. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study in Philadelphia and found that when yellow lights were one second longer, red-light running decreased by almost 40%.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is a group of experts who know a lot about traffic signals. They created a formula to figure out how long yellow lights should be based on how fast cars are going and other things. The ITE recommends that traffic engineers use the actual speed of cars instead of the speed limit to figure out how long yellow lights should be. For example, if the speed limit is 45 mph, the ITE recommends that the yellow light should be 4.8 seconds long.
Some cities, like Phoenix and Peoria, have yellow lights that are shorter than the ITE recommends. Some experts think that cities do this to get more cars through the intersection. But safety should be more important than getting cars through the intersection quickly.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is looking at the ITE guidelines for traffic signals and collecting data at different intersections. They will use this information to decide if they should change the yellow light times in the next year. ADOT says that driver behavior, like speeding and drunk driving, is the main cause of most accidents. So, they will not just change the yellow light times based on one year’s crash numbers. They will use sound engineering judgment to decide if changes are needed.
In conclusion, red-light running is a serious concern for traffic safety experts as it causes a lot of accidents and injuries. Longer yellow lights can help prevent some red-light running accidents and save lives. The Institute of Transportation Engineers recommends that traffic engineers use the actual speed of cars instead of the speed limit to figure out how long yellow lights should be. Some cities have shorter yellow lights than recommended, but safety should be more important than getting cars through the intersection quickly. The Arizona Department of Transportation is currently collecting data and will decide if changes to the yellow light times are needed.