Missouri bill seeks to keep yellow traffic lights consistant throughout state


by Lindsay Bramson / News 4


Posted on May 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 2 at 5:41 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Some drivers are accusing city officials of making certain yellow lights stay on for too short a time in order to catch more people running red lights.

But now a legal crackdown aims to reduce red-light camera tickets.

The federal highway department is in charge of giving each city a minimum requirement of how long a yellow light at an intersection must be.

“They dictate to us that we have the ability to make (yellow lights) between three and six seconds,” said St. Louis City Streets Director Todd Waelterman.

Waelterman said four seconds is more than enough time to make it through a yellow light safely.

“We deal with a very slow traffic speed.  We don’t have anywhere where people are going 50, 60 or 70 miles per house coming up to a red light,” he said.

But The Missouri House of Representatives wants to make it so every yellow light is the same throughout the state. Right now, the average is 4.5 seconds.

But some yellow lights are as short as three seconds, one reason why some drivers say accidents happen.

“They’re jamming on their brakes and they cause more accidents by jamming on their brakes than going through the light,” said St. Louis resident Norbert Stuckenshneider.

The bill now goes back to the Missouri Senate and a final decision will be made May 18.