Utah (ABC4 News) — Have you noticed blue flashing lights showing up next to stoplights in your neighborhood? Well, you’re not alone. Though they might be distracting, these bright blue lights are actually designed to keep people safe.
The flashing blue lights, officially referred to as “Tattle Tale Lights”, are usually positioned on or next to traffic lights and are designed to help traffic officers apprehend red light violators.
Traditionally, when an officer sees someone run a red light they too then have to run the light to catch them. However, Tattle Tale Lights allow officers to park down the road from the intersection, allowing them to see who is running the light without having to run it themselves.
The lights are commonly attached to the traffic signals, typically on the opposite side of a traffic light, facing the opposite direction. When the traffic light is red the lights flash blue, when the traffic light is green the blue lights are off.
Utah traffic officials tell ABC4 the lights are typically attached to the traffic signal, cueing them to turn on and off.
According to Kenneth Barrier, Traffic Signal/Electrical Supervisor for Salt Lake County, the lights are managed by the county they are installed in or by Utah Department of Transportation personnel.
According to Barrier, he manages 18 Tattle Tale Lights throughout Cottonwood Heights.
“These tattle-tale lights are managed by Salt Lake County. There is not much management needed as these are on 24/7 as long as the bulb has not burned out. These are directly hard wired into the red LED terminal in the traffic signal head,” Barrier tells ABC4.
Barrier says he can only speak on the lights installed in Cottonwood Heights. He says the city that owns the intersections where lights are installed is who decides where and when to install the lights.
ABC4 has reached out to multiple agencies across Utah where Tattle Tale Lights have been spotted, but police and traffic personnel say they didn’t know who installed the lights or what their purpose was.
Utahns say they have seen Tattle Tale Lights pop up in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, Holladay, and Salt Lake City. Have you seen a light near you? Let us know in the comments of the Facebook post.