LANSING, Mich. – The question of what drivers should do at an intersection where the traffic light isn’t working has been a vexing issue, but a bill heading to Governor Rick Snyder may help bring some resolution to the problem.
Legislation brought by State Senator Rick Jones was passed Wednesday by the Michigan House of Representatives. Senate Bill 521 requires drivers to treat intersections where a traffic signal is not working as a four-way stop.
While many drivers believe this is the case in Michigan, it actually isn’t. Michigan law now says that the “dominant” street has the right-of-way and doesn’t have to stop, even though many people believe it does. Also, it is not clear at some intersections which is the “dominant” street.
“This is about improving safety on our roads when the power is out and a traffic light isn’t working,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge in a press release. “It can be dangerous if two drivers have different expectations when approaching an intersection where the traffic light is out. If one driver thinks everyone is stopping and another driver thinks he has the right of way, that’s a recipe for disaster.”
Jones acknowledges that the new law may slow traffic on major roads during an outage, but “it’s worth it if it can help save lives.”
Michigan State Police have supported the bill.