Posted On: January 14, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Do LEDs Increase Chicago Car Crash Risks?

Officials in Illinois and a number of other states are concerned over whether light-emitting diodes, called LED’s, pose a car crash risk to motorists. The LED’s, which require less energy than conventional bulbs and are easier to see, are now used in many traffic lights. However, there is growing concern that because LED’s require less heat, ice and snow can accumulate on them, rather than melting, making traffic lights harder for drivers to see.

In April, four people were injured and 34-year-old Lisa Richter died in an Illinois car accident when a pickup truck drove past a red light that had snow covering it. The pickup truck struck the woman’s vehicle as she made a left-hand turn.

Oswego Police Detective Rob Sherwood says he doesn’t think the Illinois traffic crash would have happened if the snow wasn’t obstructing the light from truck driver Alex Dyche's view. Richter’s fiancé, Robert Leathers, filed an Illinois car accident lawsuit against Dyche. Leathers sustained significant injuries during the Oswego car crash.

Meantime, the Illinois Department is pushing cities to use LED lights at traffic intersections where there are red light cameras.

Depending on the direction that snow might be blowing the wind, visibility on one side of a two-sided traffic light might be obscured by snow, making motorists more vulnerable to injury accidents. In some states, transportation officials are having workers use brooms to clear the lights' lenses. They are also considering placing sloping snow shields on the lenses of the traffic lights so the snow won’t accumulate on them.

LED Signals Seen as Potential Hazard, NY Times, January 1, 2010

Winter hazard in new LED signals, Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation

Our Chicago, Illinois car crash lawyers would like to offer you a free case evaluation. You may have grounds for pursuing a Chicago injury lawsuit against a negligent driver or another responsible party.

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