New Maryland Traffic Light Law

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New Maryland Traffic Light Law


This notice was provided by the Kentlands Community Watch and is posted on ActiveRain as a community service.


Maryland State Police are reminding motorists of a new law about to take effect regarding actions drivers must take when approaching intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.


Beginning October 1, 2012, a driver approaching a non-functioning traffic control signal from any direction at an intersection shall stop:
-at a clearly marked stop line;
-before entering any crosswalk; or
-before entering the intersection.

After stopping, the driver must:
-yield to any vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection; and
-remain stopped until it is safe to enter and continue through the intersection.

Intersection traffic control signals, most commonly called `red lights,' or `stop lights,' direct the safe and orderly flow of traffic in and through thousands of intersections across Maryland. Most are powered by electricity that can be interrupted because of storms, traffic crashes, or other incidents that cause power outages. Just because a traffic control signal is not functioning at an intersection does not mean drivers are relieved of their duty to exercise care and caution. The new law makes clear the procedures each driver must now follow.

Violations of the new law carry a fine of $90 and two points if the offense does not contribute to an accident. If the violation contributes to a crash, the fine is $130 and three points.


If two vehicles approach an intersection without a traffic control device or with a non-functioning traffic control signal from different roadways at the same time, there is existing motor vehicle law that applies. In this situation, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on his or her immediate right.

There are also times when a traffic control signal that normally operates green, yellow, and red lights may be in `flashing' mode. This usually means red lights may be flashing in one direction and yellow lights are flashing in another direction. Flashing red and yellow lights on a traffic control signal do not mean the light is `non-functioning.'

In this situation, the drivers approaching the red flashing light must stop and can only proceed when the intersection is clear. Drivers approaching the yellow flashing light should slow down and use caution, but are permitted to proceed through the intersection without stopping. Drivers are also reminded that if a police officer is directing traffic in the intersection, they should obey the directions of that officer, regardless of the signal indicated on the traffic control device.

It is difficult to describe every potential intersection situation. Above all, drivers are reminded that it is their duty to always drive with care and caution, especially when approaching an intersection with a non-functioning signal. If other drivers are present at the intersection, remember to be courteous, use caution, and do everything possible to try to determine the intentions of other motorists and communicate your intentions, if you are unsure of how to proceed. Even if you have the right of way, it is better to allow another driver to proceed if it appears he or she is going to do so, instead of risking an intersection crash.

Dan Lane | Public Information Officer
Gaithersburg Police Department | Special Operations Bureau
14 Fulks Corner Avenue | Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
P. 301.258.6168 | F. 301.258.6410

Daylily, Kentlands, Summer Flowers IMG_2945

Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

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Roy Kelley and Associates


Roy Kelley, Associate Broker

Realty Group Referrals (Retired from RE/MAX Realty Group)

6 Montgomery Village Ave., Suite 200

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Main Office:  301-258-7757 (You will not reach me at this number)

Send an email message if you need my phone numbers. I will be happy to recommend a real estate professional if you are moving to the area.


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Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Hi Roy, I just encountered a stop light that was out Monday in a pretty busy intersection. Thanks for the reminder on non-working stop light etiquette. 


Have a good weekend. 

Sep 13, 2012 07:53 AM #1
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

This is indeed an important localism post, Roy! Have a wonderful week!

Sep 13, 2012 08:10 AM #2
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Good evening Roy, it is very nice of you to post these changes to your local readers. Another great job.   Have a great night.

Sep 13, 2012 09:36 AM #3
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thanks so much for your comments.  It is always good to receive your feedback.

Kentlands, Summer Flowers IMG_2938

Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Sep 13, 2012 10:16 AM #4
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I'm not sure I understand.  If everyone in the intersection, let's say four drivers, all yield to everyone else in the intersection, nobody can move?

Sep 13, 2012 11:03 AM #5
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Roy:  Even though I often grouse about Texas drivers, I must say that treating a non-functioning traffic like just like a four-way stop DOES make sense. 

AND... for some reason, I have found Texas drivers in the Greater Fort Worth area to be extremely polite in taking turns... one car at a time... when coming to an intersection that has a non-functioning traffic light... even when there are cars or vehicles coming from all four directions.

Jay:  Just treat it like a four-way stop sign intersection.  Sounds pretty easy to me... if, that is, folks are using common sense.

Sep 13, 2012 11:11 AM #6
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Good reminder, Roy!  In DC, we are supposed to treat it like a four-way stop.

Sep 13, 2012 11:26 AM #7
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Roy,  good job on getting the word out now. 

Sep 13, 2012 11:36 AM #8
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Good evening Roy, This is a good law that will keep some more people safe.

Sep 13, 2012 11:38 AM #9
Kwee Huset
Kwee Huset Realty - Venice, FL
Venice Florida Homes For Sale

Hi Roy, very informative post keeping drivers out of trouble.

Sep 13, 2012 02:15 PM #10
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Roy, I always find it interesting the fines for violations. I have the feeling if I were responsible for writing these traffic laws, each of the fines you list would have another 0 at the end, LOL.

Sep 13, 2012 04:18 PM #11
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Roy this make so much sense.  I have run into situation where the light was out and those without the stop sign just kept going, no consideration shown for others.


Have a great weekend.


Sep 13, 2012 06:15 PM #12
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Karen Anne - I grew up in Maryland and it's where I got my first driver's license 47 years ago.  If you read the wording of the old law, and compare it to the new, everyone must yield now to everyone else.  The old law was that you yielded to the right.  And I was being just a hair facetious...

Sep 13, 2012 07:14 PM #14
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Roy,

Great local post, important information for every driver to be aware of.

Sep 13, 2012 08:12 PM #15
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Roy, sometimes it seems silly when an ordinance puts common sense in writing. Enjoy your day!

Sep 13, 2012 08:31 PM #16
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Roy... all I can say is God help the tourist who isn't familiar with local or state laws. Traveling can be a challenge and it can get a driver into lots of trouble!

I think there should be a law for Car Rental Companies to hand over the state laws, such as this when you rent a car from out of state or out of the country.

Sep 13, 2012 09:15 PM #17
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Good morning to all.  I always appreciate your comments.  Some will be confused by the new law.  Hopefully, all will be safer if everybody will stop before going through the intersection.

Kentlands, Summer Flowers IMG_2933

Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Sep 13, 2012 09:17 PM #18
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