Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unintended Consequences: "Green" Traffic Lights Hazardous

Police in "deep freeze" states blame snow covered, cool LED traffic lights for accidents.

"MILWAUKEE (AP) ― Cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering a hazardous downside: The bulbs don't burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm — a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death.

"I've never had to put up with this in the past," said Duane Kassens, a driver from West Bend who got into a fender-bender recently because he couldn't see the lights. "The police officer told me the new lights weren't melting the snow. How is that safe?"

Many communities have switched to LED bulbs in their traffic lights because they use 90 percent less energy than the old incandescent variety, last far longer and save money. Their great advantage is also their drawback: They do not waste energy by producing heat.

Authorities in several states are testing possible solutions, including installing weather shields, adding heating elements like those used in airport runway lights, or coating the lights with water-repellent substances.

Short of some kind of technological fix, "as far as I'm aware, all that can be done is to have crews clean off the snow by hand," said Green Bay, Wis., police Lt. Jim Runge. "It's a bit labor-intensive."

And dollar foolish? My guess is the expense of man hours involved more than consumes the dollar savings from 'green' lights. Not to mention the economic burden of traffic jams, police accident response, ambulance service, collision repair & hospital bills.

So what to do? Well, common sense could prevail, at least in the deep freeze states, and the old incandescents re-installed.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. How silly. It's only people's safety at stake for the sake of Gaia worship.

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