Green Lights Being Tested on Michigan Snow Plows

November 18, 2014

Officials in western Michigan are testing green emergency lights for possible use on snow plows as part of an effort to cut down on crashes involving the vehicles.

The lights could help increase visibility of snow plows on the road, said Jerry Byrne, the Kent County Road Commission’s director of maintenance. About six snow plows are rear-ended each year in Kent County alone, WOOD-TV reports.

“We’re going 30 and they’re doing 60, and they either run into the back of a snow removal truck (or) panic, hit the brakes and then slide off or cause another wreck,” Byrne said.

Kent County is currently testing the lights, which flash and change colors to grab drivers’ attention, on one of its pickup trucks.

Snow plows with green lights have been pioneered in other parts of the country.

Ohio started using green lights in recent years, though it’s too early to know whether there has been a decrease in rear-end crashes because of the lights, Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Melissa Ayers said.

Still, the department has “found them to be valuable,” Ayers said.

Widespread use of the lights in Michigan would require a change in state law because such lights currently are prohibited. The lights cost $300 to $400 per truck and it likely would be next winter at the earliest before they move beyond the testing phase.

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