State phasing out "Prepare to Stop" signs


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The state says it's phasing out many flashing "Prepare to Stop" signs in favor of a technology considered safer for drivers.

Traffic officials say too often the flashing signals cause drivers to speed up to make a light, causing more accidents at intersections.

Such crashes tend to be more severe because of the speed of cars trying to beat the red light, Joe Rutherford, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation in central Ohio, told the Columbus Dispatch ( ) for a story Saturday.

ODOT has already removed the flashing signs from its central Ohio district, including Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties.

Officials are replacing many of the approximately 90 lights around the state with "dilemma zone" detectors that monitor the speed of vehicles and can extend a green light if cars can't stop in time.

The state will place three such detectors along U.S. route 33 in eastern and southeastern Ohio in the ODOT district including Coshocton, Fairfield, Guernsey, Knox, Licking, Muskingum and Perry counties. The detectors cost about $10,000 apiece.

Sometimes the flashing lights are preferable, as when a traffic light is obscured, said ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner.

And some communities aren't ready to give up on the "prepare to stop" signs yet. Delaware installed two in the past two years and has a total of 10.

"We are looking at each location on a case-by-case basis to see if a signal should be there," said city spokesman Lee Yoakum.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,