Missouri Yellow Light Times Could Be Regulated

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri drivers could soon get some extra time to brake for the stoplights.

Missouri House members have endorsed a senate bill that would require the Missouri Department of Transportation to set minimal yellow light change interval times throughout the state. The bill sponsor, Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St.Louis, said this would be the way to make intersections in Missouri safer and reduce T-bone accidents.

Lembke said some municipalities in the state are shortening yellow light times and boosting revenue by installing red-light cameras and issuing tickets.

But drivers in central Missouri would not see much change in traffic lights. Jacob Ray, a traffic engineer for the MoDOT Central District, said all yellow lights in the area maintained by MoDOT have been set based on the national standard. Interval times range from 4 seconds to 5.5 seconds depending on the speed limit and width of the road. Ray said all the city of Columbia-maintained traffic lights also abide by the rules.

The bill has passed in the house of representatives with some amendments and a conference committee will go through the amendments and take a further discussion.