LANSING (WJRT) (3/13/2018) - When a traffic light goes out due to a power outage or malfunction, standard practice calls for drivers to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
But that's not currently the law in Michigan.
State Sen. Rick Jones wants to change that. He has proposed a bill that would require drivers to stop at any intersection where a traffic light is out.
Jones said the legislation is designed to give all drivers clarity on what to do and cut down on crashes caused by some drivers assuming others will stop for a dead traffic light.
“It is critical that all drivers know exactly what to do at intersections, especially when the traffic light is out,” said Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge. “Even though most drivers are taught that an intersection with a nonworking traffic signal becomes a four-way stop, that is not true in Michigan. This legislation would clarify the law and ensure that all drivers are on the same page when they are out on our roads.”
The bill would not apply to traffic lights that are only active during limited times of day, such as signals outside of a school or a fire station.
“It can be dangerous if two drivers have different expectations when approaching an intersection where a storm has knocked out the power and the traffic light isn’t working,” Jones said. “Treating all intersections as four-way stops if the signal is out might slow traffic a bit on major roads, but it’s worth it if it can help save lives.”
The Michigan State Police support the bill. It passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday and now heads to the full House for consideration.