RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Rapid City and the Department of Transportation are now installing flashing yellow left turn lights that they say will make major intersections safer.
“It's an easier way to allow drivers to continue yielding to oncoming traffic,” said Darrell Shoemaker, the City Communications Coordinator. “But knowing with the blinking yellow light, if they have the opportunity, then they can turn left.”
Research conducted by the city and the department of transportation found that there was a high rate of accidents among drivers making left hand–turns at busy intersections.
"We had people being cut off, rushing through the intersection, trying to beat oncoming traffic,” said Shoemaker.
Since the turning lights were installed, the city has seen major decreases in left–turn crashes. The rate of crashes at the intersection between Catron and Highway 16 is down 38 percent.
"They have been very productive for us,” said Chastain James, a Traffic Crash Reconstructionist for the police department. “They reduce the number of crashes and that hazard, so that's why when we do have that issue, we make a push with the appropriate agency and get those changed over."
So far, there are ten intersections that already have the flashing yellow turning lights. Four more are expected to go up this fall.