City of Phoenix to extend the length of some yellow lights

The City of Phoenix is studying 12 different intersections to see if adding half a second to a yellow light will help prevent crashes.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 9:06 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Director of Street Transportation Department in Phoenix, Kini Knudson, says the city has “significant issues with roadway fatalities in past several years and is likely one of the worst large cities in fatalities.” AAA found 133 fatalities and 9,320 injuries reported in Phoenix from 2014 to 2020.

To try and prevent so many bad crashes, the street transportation department wants to add between .2 and .6 seconds to yellow lights at twelve different intersections. The additional time will depend on the speed limit of the road. The higher the speed limit, the more time will be added to the yellow light. The department is working with the University of Arizona on this study.

The goal is to give people that extra moment to decide whether to continue through an intersection or slow down and stop. Under one second may not seem like a lot of time, but it seems to be making a difference.

“We have seen a reduction in red light running in some of the intersections where we’ve made these changes,” Knudson said. These preliminary results from the first several weeks seem to indicate the additional split second is making the roads safer. The potential concern is if people adjust and sense the extra time and continue driving the same way they did before.

The city won’t release which intersections are monitored by cameras and sensors. This is because they want people to drive as they would without knowing if the lights were altered.

The study will wrap up in February. Knudson and the team will review the data and present recommendations in the spring.