Proposed Bill Would Increase Yellow Light Time

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 20:34:52-05

A bill in legislature would  increase the minimum amount of time a light could be yellow on a traffic signal in Tennessee from three seconds to five seconds.

The bill, sponsored by republican state representative Andy Holt of Dresden, was discussed in committee Wednesday.

It was proposed with the intention to make the roads safer for drivers by giving them more time to react to stopping at a red light without the fear of stopping too quickly instead of running a red light. 

Holt described what many of his constituents have described to him. "Do I slam on the brakes and potentially get hit from the rear? Or do I risk the chance that I may be caught 'running a red light' when that's obviously not the intention of the driver?" Holt said during the committee hearing. "They're put in that precarious position of making that split second decision." 

Holt said the statistics show that increasing yellow light times to five, or even four seconds, drastically cut down on accidents and citations for drivers, making the road a safer place. 

In addition, Holt brought up that in municipalities where there are red light cameras, he believes some of the lights are intentionally set at shorter times in order to get more citations, which he argues does not make the roads any safer. 

Holt's bill would also change the wording on tickets issued due to red light infractions, making sure they don't mislead the people of Tennessee.

"I simply want to add this statement so it's very clear that non-payment of these citations will not affect credit scores, will not affect drivers license points, will not affect insurance rates." Holt said of the proposal. 

The bill has been rolled until next week when the committee will take information from both sides before making a decision of whether the bill will make it out of committee.