Jones’ nonworking traffic light bill headed to governor

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to clarify what drivers should do at an intersection with a nonworking traffic light is on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed.

“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 would require drivers to treat intersections where a traffic signal is malfunctioning as a four-way stop. The bill would not apply to traffic lights that are only active during certain periods, such as signals outside of a school or a fire department.

“Although most drivers believe that an intersection with a nonworking traffic signal becomes a four-way stop, that is not true in Michigan,” Jones said. “I look forward to seeing the governor sign this legislation to 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 approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday.