In considering the decision to install a new traffic light–or remove an existing one–at an intersection, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) carefully weighs many factors. The most important factors are the smooth flow of traffic and ensuring the safety of motorists. Although any local or county government can request a traffic signal, ODOT will evaluate requests and only consider installation of traffic signals if the intersection meets one of eight different warrants that it considers necessary cause for a traffic light:

  • Eight-hour traffic volume ODOT compares the average relative volume of the major and minor streets for eight hours
  • Four-hour traffic volume as above, but ODOT studies a four-hour block
  • Peak hour traffic delays studies whether traffic on the minor street suffers unreasonable delay for a minimum of one hour of an average day
  • Pedestrian traffic volume studies whether pedestrians suffer excessive delay in crossing
  • School crossing studies the number of children crossing a street
  • Coordinated signal crossing studies whether a traffic light might be necessary to help other lights to function appropriately
  • Crash experience looks at the number of car accidents at the intersection
  • Roadway network management studies whether a traffic light will help to direct traffic to preferred roads

If any one of these warrants is satisfied, then ODOT will consider the installation of a traffic light, but not automatically put one in. ODOT points out that although some people think that traffic lights solve traffic problems, the lights may actually create new problems, such as

  • Excessive delay
  • Encouraging disobedience of “redundant” signals
  • Increased use of inferior roads to avoid traffic signal
  • Increased numbers of auto accidents

ODOT says that although some types of accidents, such as lateral or T-bone accidents, may be decreased, other types of accidents, such as rear-end accidents, may be increased by traffic signals.

If you or a loved one suffered a serious car accident at a dangerous intersection, your personal injury lawsuit may help highlight the danger and encourage ODOT to act. For help with your accident injury lawsuit, please call or email the personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack CO., L.P.A., today for a free initial consultation.