LED traffic lights blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death
The Associated Press reportsÂ cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering their downside: The LED bulbs don't burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm.
It's a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death, the AP reports.
Officials at the Washtenaw County Road CommissionÂ say they've experienced the same crusting effect from LED traffic lights, though there are no known accidents caused as a result.
"We started switching over our signals to LEDs in 2002, and since then we've had people called out to (brush off traffic lights when caked over with snow or ice)," said Roy Townsend, county highway engineer.
Townsend said the Road Commission has sent personnel out to clean off a traffic light only on rare occasions - maybe twice in seven years. He said it hasn't proven to be enough of a problem to outweigh the benefits of LED lights: They're saving the Road Commission more than $40,000 a year in energy costs and last 10 to 15 years. The old incandescent bulbs burned out every year and had to be changed.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529.