Traffic Lights in Los Angeles – in Violation of the MUTCD?

Written by Gregory Monte.

Is Los Angeles, CA acting in violation of the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in the wake of the corona virus?

Los Angeles Traffic Lights Adjusted To Prevent Unsafe Speeds During Pandem’c

“Traffic signals across the city have been indefinitely put on ‘nighttime mode,” which allow them to operate independently to serve cars as they arrive, instead of coordinating automatically to ease traffic congestion … This will prevent drivers from speeding through consecutive intersections without any red lights stopping them.”

Section 4B.2 of the MUTCD details the advantages and disadvantages of traffic control signals.  Nowhere in that section is speed control mentioned.  Instead, these devices are meant to …

“… assign the right-of-way to the various traffic movements and thereby profoundly influence traffic flow.”

Specifically, this means that:

– They provide for the orderly movement of traffic.

– They increase the traffic-handling capacity of the intersection.

– They reduce the frequency and severity of certain types of crashes, especially right-angle collisions.

They are coordinated to provide for continuous or nearly continuous movement of traffic at a definite speed along a given route under favorable conditions.

– They are used to interrupt heavy traffic at intervals to permit other traffic, vehicular or pedestrian, to cross.

Notice that the fourth point (which I bolded and underlined) recommends the use of traffic control signals for “continuous or nearly continuous movement of traffic.”  This is the opposite of what Los Angeles is doing.

As for the disadvantages listed in the MUTCD, it appears that Los Angeles is guilty of using traffic control signals in an “improper or unjustified” manner which will potentially result in each of the following results:

– Excessive delay,

– Excessive disobedience of the signal indications,

– Increased use of less adequate routes as road users attempt to avoid the traffic control signals, and

– Significant increases in the frequency of collisions (especially rear-end collisions).


Free Resources

The Basic Speeding Ticket Defense

This is a 9 page review of the most basic way to beat a speeding ticket – even if you actually were speeding. This particular strategy will almost always work, but it does depend on one aspect of the circumstances surrounding your ticket.  For the strategy to be effective, there must be an issue with the speed limit signs, themselves. It’s all about the need of states/localities to comply with their “Obedience to Traffic Control Devices” statutes.

Click to Download the Free “Basic Speeding Ticket Defense”


Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation.

This is a seven-page, detailed explanation of my three-step method for challenging any traffic ticket. I use the “Driving at a Safe Speed” statute from Pennsylvania to illustrate this method, but it can be applied to any other statute that you might be cited for in the vehicle code.

In addition, no matter what state you live in, the procedure is the same: you need to understand the statute you allegedly violated, look for technicalities in that statute and (most importantly) find case law to support/reveal those technicalities.

Click to Download the Free “Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation”


The Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell.

This is a one-page, eight-point summary of the strategy I discovered while researching ways of beating unfair stop sign tickets. It is specifically geared to Pennsylvania but can also be applied to most other states.

Click to Download the Free “Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell”


My Son’s Opening Trial Statement at the Court of Common Pleas.

This is an elegant, one-page, powerfully concise expression of my defense strategy.

Click to Download the Free “My Son’s Opening Statement for his Trial in the Court of Common Pleas, Wayne County, Pennsylvania”


The Brief – My Son’s Case Brief for the Court of Common Pleas

  • An eighteen-page argument for why an illegal stop sign is not enforceable.
  • Requested by the President Judge at Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas.
  • A highly distilled application of the Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense.

Click to Download the Free “Brief Prepared for Submission to the Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas”

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