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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Yellow lights to last longer


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Drivers in Hernando County might have a few more seconds to make it through yellow lights before too long.

Last month, Brooksville Police Chief George Turner wrote a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation, requesting confirmation that all lights were set to the maximum intervals permitted by law.

On Thursday, Turner said he heard back from FDOT “almost immediately.” The city contracts out the work on traffic lights to county engineers, Turner said.

“None of our lights were short-timed to begin with,” Turner said, referencing the City of Brooksville’s yellow light timing. Turner added that one county light might have been timed shorter, but that the county is working with FDOT to correct and extend the light times.

“They’re fast tracking it,” Turner said.

Reached by email Thursday, Assistant County Administrator Brian Malmberg said the new yellow light clearance times will be in effect “once FDOT has reviewed and approved the changes.”

Malmberg explained that the City of Brooksville’s traffic lights belong to the FDOT, and the agency must approve any changes to timing.

“When the city initiated the red light camera program, our office took the liberty of making sure that clearance times (yellow and all red) on these signals were up to date and met the current FDOT clearance times,” Malmberg said.

The amount of time a traffic light remains yellow is determined by a formula, which factors in speed, response time, acceleration rate due to gravity, deceleration rate and grade. Malmberg said the state recently increased the perception/reaction time from 1 second to 1.4 seconds.

“We finished updating our calculations this week for the signals within the City of Brooksville and have submitted them to FDOT for approval. Upon acceptance we will enter the new times into the system,” Malmberg said.

During a May 20 meeting, Brooksville City Council decided the yellow light times warranted a second look. .

(352) 544-5283

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