Regulation on a traffic light times from Yellow to Red

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Regulation on a traffic light times from Yellow to Red

I was pulled over at a traffic light in Maine The light had just turned yellow and as soon as I got under the light it was red I was wondering is there a requirement or regulation on how long the light is suppose to hold on yellow

Asked on May 28, 2019 under General Practice, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no specific or minimum requirement. It is set by the department of transportation (or whatever agency in your state, city, etc. handles traffic lights) based on their experience, training, etc. and the characteristics of that intersection (traffic volume, speed limit, etc.). In theory, if they set an "unreasonably" short time, you could raise that as a defense to show there was no way to stop in time, but to do this, you'd have to hire a traffic expert to study the light, write a report, and testify (non-expert testimony would not be credited by the court), which you'd have to pay for yourself--and which would be much more expensive than the ticket. (It's also not guaranteed to work--the court might believe whatever expert the DOT put forward.)

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