The invention of the traffic signal was arguably the biggest contribution to automotive transportation safety in history. Through the years, the traffic light has been improved to make it more effective in regulating the flow of traffic. More recently, some cities in Illinois have begun installing new energy-efficient traffic lights in order to save money on utility costs.
But are these cost savings coming at the expense of safety?
One man believes that to be the case. A Montgomery man has filed suit against Kendall County which alleges that these new traffic lights caused a fatal accident over two years ago. The 33-year old plaintiff argues that these LED traffic lights do not generate as much heat as traditional traffic signals, making them unable to melt off any ice or snow which may be obscuring them.
In April of 2009, the man’s pickup truck crashed into a car at the intersection of North Orchard Road and Lewis Street in Oswego. The 33-year old driver of the car died in the accident, and three other people were injured. One of the injured occupants sued the pickup truck driver, which prompted the Montgomery man to file suit against Kendall County. That second suit claims that if the man is found responsible for the crash, the county is at least equally to blame.
Police investigating the auto accident stated that the woman driving the car sat through at least one green light on Lewis because cross traffic on Orchard was not stopping. Authorities also noted that the eco-friendly traffic lights appeared to be a contributing factor in the crash. The problems with energy-efficient traffic lights failing to melt snow and ice have been documented for over a decade.
A hearing on the Montgomery man’s lawsuit was held this week, and the next proceedings in the case will take place in a Kendall County courtroom on January 4 of next year.