speeding ticket

The History of Traffic Signals

For such an everyday presence, the traffic light sure has a fascinating history. It involves politics, policemen, horses, inventors and the type of progress that epitomized the 20th Century.

Of course, with its invention, the traffic light also has spawned an entirely new industry as well, including the traffic ticket, the traffic court and, naturally, the traffic ticket lawyer.

What might surprise you is that the traffic signal pre-dates the automobile. London city officials were so concerned by the amount of traffic around the Houses of Parliament in the late 1860s that they devised a crude method to control the many horses and carriages tramping through the intersection of George and Bridge streets, as well as the railroad cars that used the same area.

The creators of the first traffic signal were actually most concerned about politicians getting run over as they left the House of Commons. This was before the invention of the traffic ticket lawyer, of course.

Thus, a tall post with moveable arms was erected to stop the vehicles at intervals and allow pedestrians to cross safely. These posts were called semaphores, and when the arms stuck out from the top of the post, traffic in that direction was to halt. At night, a gas light was lit on the top and featured a red lens for stop and a green lens for go. Voila! The first red light was born, producing frustration in drivers everywhere.

These semaphores were operated by hand by police officers. There is little record as to whether a traffic ticket was given out to those who ignored the semaphore’s directions or if speeding tickets existed; there is even less evidence that traffic or speeding ticket lawyers sprang up as a new industry in London.

As transportation evolved, this system of hand-operated traffic signals began to fray. Police officers judged the traffic patterns, blew a whistle to alert drivers that they would be changing the signal, then hoped to be seen by the many drivers on congested roads.

An early primitive solution was traffic towers erected in the middle of streets and on corners, most sprouting up in Detroit for obvious reasons. In these elevated towers, officers waved their arms, used semaphores and/or colored lights to keep the ever-increasing traffic in some semblance of order.

Detroit was the site of the first three-way signal to control traffic, with the yellow light making its debut in 1920, invented by a Motor City cop. It was a short step to an automated signal, which had actually been patented in 1910 in Chicago but needed refinement. The timer for such signals was standardized later in the ‘20s and the light was mass produced in 1935 as traffic signals were manufactured and installed in various American towns, insuring that drivers would not have to guess what signals would be like in different cities as they travelled.

When motorists did go afoul of the law, they called on a skilled traffic ticket attorney, and the rest is history in the legal field. What color a traffic light is determines many of the rulings in court today, and not even the best speeding ticket lawyers can turn back the hands of time to 1867, before the red light made its first appearance.

If you have received a traffic ticket, please contact an experienced speeding ticket lawyers. Protect your right to drive legally

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