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  • Flashing Red Traffic Light

    This is probably a really dumb question, but in the State of Pennsylvania, what should a driver do when approaching an intersection with a flashing red traffic light? Is there such a thing?

    Only reason I ask is because I ticketed a guy (in Texas) after I saw him blow through 2 consecutive intersections where the traffic light was flashing red. Quite dangerous. The driver stated that he was from Pennsylvania, and that they do not have a law for flashing red traffic signals in Pennsylvania. Of course, ignorance is no defense, but I'm still curious to know. I thought flashing red lights meant the same thing (stop) in pretty much every state.

  • #2
    Everyone knows you don't have to stop if you go in between the flashes.



    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      Originally posted by allen_gamble View Post
      This is probably a really dumb question, but in the State of Pennsylvania, what should a driver do when approaching an intersection with a flashing red traffic light? Is there such a thing?

      Only reason I ask is because I ticketed a guy (in Texas) after I saw him blow through 2 consecutive intersections where the traffic light was flashing red. Quite dangerous. The driver stated that he was from Pennsylvania, and that they do not have a law for flashing red traffic signals in Pennsylvania. Of course, ignorance is no defense, but I'm still curious to know. I thought flashing red lights meant the same thing (stop) in pretty much every state.
      I can understand his ignorance to some extent. Red flashers are somewhat uncommon here from what I've seen. But if one sees a red anything on the road, especially a light, and doesn't know what to do, I can't figure out why they wouldn't show that they are at least acknowledging it instead of just blowing through them.

      But no, he's wrong, we DO have a law for flashing reds in PA, and yes, it's the same as it is in Texas.
      "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
      -Chris Rock

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GangGreen712 View Post

        I can understand his ignorance to some extent. Red flashers are somewhat uncommon here from what I've seen. But if one sees a red anything on the road, especially a light, and doesn't know what to do, I can't figure out why they wouldn't show that they are at least acknowledging it instead of just blowing through them.

        But no, he's wrong, we DO have a law for flashing reds in PA, and yes, it's the same as it is in Texas.
        Hah.. I figured. The guy actually brought it up in a respectful manner, so it didn't bother me. I still thought it was a fair ticket to write, and I told him to talk to the Court if he felt he had extenuating circumstances. I would not be surprised if the court offers him a Defensive Driving class to get it dismissed (which is what they would have done regardless of his excuse).

        Thanks for the info.

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        • #5
          Flashing red means the same in all 50 states. These are Federal standards.
          Now go home and get your shine box!

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          • #6
            Flashing red lights aren't THAT uncommon here in PA. Anytime after the power goes out, most traffic lights revert to flashing red lights until the power/system is stabilized and returned to normal function. Any driver in PA knows you treat a flashing red light as a stop sign. You STOP at the intersection and then, and only then, do you proceed when it's safe to do so (after yielding to other traffic). If I stopped the driver in the same circumstances you did, he/she would receive a ticket for lying to me when they clearly know better. I'd much rather cut someone a break for being honest (I blew the flashing red light because I didn't see anyone around) than for coming up with some BS excuse about them not knowing better.

            In case you need or want to cite the PA statute for court, it is PA Title 75, Section 3112(c)(2)...

            (c) Inoperable or malfunctioning signal.--If a traffic-control signal is out of operation or is not functioning properly, including, but not limited to, a signal that uses inductive loop sensors or other automated technology to detect the presence of vehicles that fails to detect a vehicle, vehicular traffic facing a:

            (1) Green or yellow signal may proceed with caution as indicated in subsection (a)(1) and (2).

            (2) Red or completely unlighted signal shall stop in the same manner as at a stop sign, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign as provided in section 3323 (relating to stop signs and yield signs).

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            • #7
              Thanks for the statute. I probably wouldn't bother bringing it up in court because I stopped caring about the results of traffic court several years ago. I continue to write citations when deserved, and if it's worth someone's time to try to convince a judge or jury I was wrong.. more power to 'em. I get an automatic 4 hours of overtime every time I go to court, so they're doing me a favor.

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              • #8
                I live in a fairly rural part of York County. I see flashing reds quite frequently there. I work primarily in Baltimore City. On midnight shift, they're a common sight.
                In God we trust, all others are run MILES and NCIC.

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