Maryland Traffic Lawyer Explains “Non-Fuctioning” Traffic Light Law

When the Derecho hit Maryland in 2012, 500 of Montgomery County’s 800 traffic lights went out. Power outages continued throughout Maryland for days afterward. With all the damage a storm causes, uncontrolled intersections are just another worry. People are often not sure who has the right-of-way. Some motorists don’t stop at all. Thinking no traffic control is in place because the lights are out is a big mistake.

When a traffic light goes dark, the conventional wisdom is to treat it like a four-way stop. This can be confusing. Until recently, Maryland had never spelled out what to do in the Transportation Article. Right-of-way passes to the right. This includes vehicles in turning lanes but these vehicles should yield to oncoming traffic. Let the cars in the straight-away go first. All motorists should stop behind the crosswalk as you would at any stop. Yield to pedestrians.

In October 2012, Maryland passed law clearly stating that failure to stop at a non-functioning signal is a violation. The fine for the violation alone is $90 with 2 points on your license. Causing an accident increases the fine to $130 with 3 points. Thankfully, many traffic signals now have battery back-ups. They may keep functioning through a blackout or have enough power to flash yellow.

Charged with a Maryland traffic ticket?  Call my office at 301-563-9575 before you go to court or pay any tickets.  I’m an experienced Maryland Traffic ticket lawyer and I’d be happy to help.