COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - A new proposal in Collier County would make the roads safer and improve response times.
Collier County has more than 200 intersections. One hundred of the busiest have what is called an emergency pre-emptive device or Opticom.
"It's important to have a series of Opticom's in a row, so the lights continually change in front of that emergency vehicle," says North Naples Fire Chief Orly Stolts
The system has a sensor on the emergency vehicle and on the traffic light. When an ambulance or fire truck approaches the stop light, it send out a signal, changing the light from red to green. It helps move traffic through the intersection, but it doesn't always work to clear the way.
One Collier County residents says, "drivers don't always recognize that, sometimes they want to hang a right turn, they come to a stop, they think it's clear and here comes an emergency vehicle, surprise."
Tuesday, Collier County commissioners will look at what it will cost to add white confirmation beacons. The flashing white lights alert drivers that an emergency vehicle is approaching the intersection.
"Personally, I've never heard of them before, but I think it's a great idea," says another Collier County resident. "Anything that can keep citizens safe, it's a no brainer."
Thus far, county leaders have approved beacons at nine intersections, but they want more pre-emptive devices and more beacons, something North Naples Fire Chief Orly Stolts says will certainly improve response times.
"It's not always the importance of the major intersections, it's the next light a block down because if that light doesn't have a pre-emptive device on it, all that traffic is bottlenecking at the next light," says Stolts.
Tuesday, county leaders are expected to ask staff to come up with a proposed budget and implementation schedule by next month.