South Dakota DOT adding blue safety lights to snowplow fleet

Snowplow (file photo)
Snowplow (file photo)(KEVN)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 2:49 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Flashing blue lights are being added to South Dakota snowplows in an effort to make roads safer this winter.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation will begin the project by adding blue lights to 25 trucks as part of a pilot program, state officials announced Tuesday.

Interim Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt said the blue lights add more visibility to snowplows, making the roads safer for both plow operators and drivers.

Studies have shown people have become desensitized to the flashing amber lights, according to the DOT. The blue lights have greater visibility in certain situations and because they have a higher frequency and shorter wavelength of light, they appear to be moving closer rather than farther away giving drivers a chance to react more quickly.

Blue lights are being added to many state vehicles following the passage of House Bill 1170 earlier this year in the South Dakota Legislature. It allowed emergency vehicles to use flashing blue safety lights. The bill was inspired by Dale Jones, a Watertown tow truck driver who was killed in January while removing a vehicle from the ditch.

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