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Government to remove all yellow lights

A review by the NZTA has determined that both green and yellow lights mean “Go,” and there is no longer any need for the yellow variant to exist.

A review by the NZTA has determined that both green and yellow lights mean “Go,” and there is no longer any need for the yellow variant to exist.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee announced this afternoon that the Government would be adopting a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) recommendation to remove all yellow traffic lights from the nation’s roads by the year 2016.

The recommendation, which describes the intermediary yellow light as “outdated and confusing,” advised the minister to stop attempting to clarify any rules surrounding it and just remove it altogether.

At a press conference this afternoon, Brownlee said that the change would likely do no harm, as no one really obeyed yellow lights anyway.

“The NZTA recommendation makes very clear that – generally speaking – yellow lights are treated as green lights by the public at large,” he said. “It therefore follows that two lights serving the same purpose are unnecessary.”

Brownlee added that confusion over what to do in the event of a yellow light could prove dangerous.

“The advice I received from police was that yellow means I can go if I feel that I am too close to the intersection to stop,” he said. “But what if there’s a yellow light, I feel that I am close to the intersection, and yet there is a child directly in the path of my car? What am I going to do now?”

“Well you would probably stop,” said one reporter, appearing confused.

“But the law says I can go,” said Brownlee.

Brownlee said that all traffic lights would now feature only the red and green colours, with green meaning “Go,” and red meaning “Stop immediately, regardless of the circumstances.”

Asked what would happen if a driver couldn’t stop in time when a light changed, Brownlee confirmed that they would be fined for running a red light.

“You are not to run red lights,” he said.

To avoid drivers being ticketed unfairly, the NZTA has recommended the implementation of what it calls “assistive walls” that would emerge from the ground and help cars stop before reaching an intersection. Brownlee has yet to say whether he will adopt these.

Once the ministry has dealt with the yellow lights, Brownlee says he’ll also be reviewing red lights, which he is concerned could be construed as election advertising for the Labour Party, given that drivers are forced to watch them until they turn green.