Published On: Wed, Nov 6th, 2019

County to Activate Flashing Yellow Arrow Left-Turn Traffic Signals

By: Robert S Weinroth

The Palm Beach County Traffic Division will be activating the first phase of the Flashing Yellow Arrow left-turn traffic signals at eight traffic signalized intersections along and in the vicinity of Congress Avenue between Golf Road and Gateway Blvd. Although the FYA traffic signal has been used nationwide for more than 10 years, including at over 100 locations in Florida, the FYA traffic signal is new to Palm Beach County. 

The Flashing Yellow Arrow signal indication will replace the traditional solid circular green indication for the following two left-turn signal types:

–          Permissive Only where only a solid circular green indication is displayed and motorists must always yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before completing the left turn;

–          Protected/Permissive which is composed of two parts: a “protected” left-turn phase initiated by a green arrow signal indication where oncoming traffic must stop and it is safe to turn left, followed by a “permissive” part during which a solid circular green signal is displayed and left turning traffic must yield to oncoming traffic.

During the Flashing Yellow Arrow display, drivers turning left must yield to oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians in the crosswalk.

The Flashing Yellow Arrow means are you allowed to turn in the direction of the arrow after yielding to all pedestrians in crosswalks and vehicles lawfully within the intersection.

When the flashing yellow arrow is pointing left to allow a left turn or U-turn, you must yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction if they are close enough to be an immediate hazard.

You must stop and wait until there is a safe gap.

The meaning of a flashing yellow arrow is sometimes known as an “unprotected turn”. Unlike the green arrow (protected turn), traffic from the opposite direction is not stopped by a red light.

In 2009, the Federal Highway Administration authorized use of Flashing Yellow Arrows nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, since they began implementing flashing yellow lights across the country, left turning car accidents have decreased by 25 percent.

You are very likely to see this new signal, nationwide, when engineers install new traffic lights at intersections, making the old yield-on-green sign less common.

Often, new signals with flashing yellow arrows have a regulatory black and white sign saying “Left Turn Yield on Flashing Yellow Arrow”.

National research has shown that after a short learning period, Flashing Yellow Arrow is more easily understood by motorists and it helps improve safety for motorists and pedestrians at signalized intersections. The Flashing Yellow Arrow also offers motorists more opportunities to make left turns, which reduces wait times and allows for additional traffic signal timing options to enhance traffic signal synchronization.

The county will be mailing tip cards to advise residents within the initial project implementation area. For more information on the Flashing Yellow Arrow , visit discover.pbcgov.org/engineering/traffic/Pages/default.aspx.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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