LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to clarify what drivers should do at an intersection with a nonworking traffic light has been signed into law.
“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. “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.”
Senate Bill 521, now Public Act 109 of 2018, requires drivers to treat intersections where a traffic signal is malfunctioning as a four-way stop. The new law will not apply to traffic lights that are only active during certain periods, such as signals outside of a school or a fire department.
“Most drivers already believe that treating an intersection with a nonworking traffic signal as a four-way stop is the law, and with this reform, it now will be,” Jones said. “This will end the confusion in Michigan’s law and ensure that all drivers in our state are on the same page when approaching an intersection with a nonworking traffic light.
“It might slow traffic a bit on major roads, but it’s worth it if it can help save lives.”
The Michigan State Police supported the bill, which was signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Tuesday.