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Boston Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Is a New Traffic Intersection Light Color On the Way?

Is a New Traffic Intersection Light Color On the Way?


As time has passed, almost everything related to driving has changed. Our cars have more technology than they ever have. Roadways have new kinds of interchanges and devices to try to minimize accidents.

But one thing that has remained consistent almost since the automobile was invented, is the classic, well known traffic signal.

Red, yellow and green all have been the staple of traffic signals, so much so that the colors themselves have taken on meaning in regular life, independent from driving (think of someone giving you the “green light” to do something).

Why No Changes?

But why is that? Unlike roads, which take millions of dollars and years to construct, it would seem that a few simple traffic lights would be easy to change or modify, to adapt to today’s driving habits, and in efforts to reduce the amount of traffic accidents.

One reason the standard three color traffic lights haven’t changed, is that to change them, all traffic lights, everywhere, would need to change. To coordinate this in every single state, almost at the same time, would be an incredibly difficult and time consuming task. You simply can’t have a traffic signal with red, yellow and green in Florida, and then in George, a traffic light that has an extra color.

Even if you could change all the traffic lights in every state, almost simultaneously, there would then be the problem of driver education—people would need to learn whatever the new color or colors mean. The process of learning what the new light colors mean could actually lead to more accidents, not less.

Is a New Color Coming?

There is talk of adding a new color light to traffic lights, generally thought to be a white light, but the actual color hasn’t been determined yet.

The change is in response to the anticipated increase in self-driving cars on the roadways.

The problem is that when self-driving cars go through intersections controlled by traffic lights, the lights will communicate with, and control, the vehicles. In essence the lights and the cars will work together, to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

But the driver of the self-driving car will need to know this, so he or she doesn’t take control of the self-driving car, and thus, disrupt the carefully orchestrated traffic flow, and cause an accident. The white light tells drivers, “let the car or traffic signal controlling the car, take full control for a few seconds.”

Additionally, drivers of other cars, that are not autonomous yet, will also need to know when the cars around them may be controlled by the traffic signal.

There is some research to support the fact that the additional color can facilitate faster, and safer traffic through intersections. But there is no way to fully know if it will work, until there are more self-driving cars on the roadways.

We can help you if you have been injured in an accident at a traffic intersection. Call our Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help.




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