I’ve lived in a number of different states, and been thankful enough to travel through even more. So there’s a good chance that if some traffic law, or signal exists that’s a little different, then I’ve probably seen it. 

But this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a traffic signal like this, and I’m curious if it’s even legal? 

The signals in question were spotted just outside of Ashley, MI, on US Highway 127. The original poster, Greg Bell, put them on a facebook page called "There is No Way that is MUTCD-Compliant." (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices).

"We saw this today on US 127 in Ashley, MI. I've never seen such a thing. Is this compliant? This is a spot that's not a freeway, but they want you to keep going at 65 mph." 

He has good reason to question whether the signals are legit or not, because by law, larger vehicles – buses and semis – are required by law to stop and insure that no train would be coming from any direction on those tracks, even if the light is green. The law is in place to safeguard against any situation where the signals might not be working, such as a power outage, or simply malfunctioning. 

But these signals seem to be countering the law, with a sign that reads, “Trucks and buses do not stop on (Green).” 

Strange Michigan Traffic Signal
Google Maps

When reading through the comments section of the original post, many were quick to point out that there are some exemptions that exist for commercial vehicles, and even existing signs that simply read “Exempt” below the crossing signal. But others are quick to point out, too, that an “exempt” sign is typically used for tracks that are not in regular use, where these tracks still seem to be in use. 

But the most likely reason for this specific signage, at this crossing, comes straight from the department of Transportation’s handbook. 

“A railroad grade crossing controlled by a functioning highway traffic signal transmitting a green indication which, under local law, permits the commercial motor vehicle to proceed across the railraod tracks without slowing or stopping.” 

It’s still likely that you’ll see buses and semis stop, or slow when crossing these tracks, but only if they don’t see the sign before reaching the signals. Also, they’re good drivers, and it’s a safe habit they’ve developed over their lives to stop, or slow. 

Michigan Man Created the Four-Way Traffic Light, 1920

Included is a gallery of vintage traffic lights

Abandoned Truck Stop: Erie, Mi