Patton, who works as a mechanic at the Bolivar County Council on Aging, feels confident that his invention will bring safety to intersections on America's roads.
"It's called the Traffic Light Illumination Duration Indicator," said Patton. "The main goal is to prevent accidents."
The indicator is two-part — a digital timer display to the left of the traffic light which posts numbers counting down the seconds until the light changes color, and second, a circular pie chart to the right that decreases in fraction in synchronization of the light change.
According to Patton, his patent application and official diagrams have been submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington, D.C., and he expects to see his device soon installed at local intersections.
"This is a very innovative thing," added Patton. "I think we need it so drivers can keep up with time better. It's a good thing anytime we can save lives and prevent accidents."
The project has gained support from a board of directors, including Dr. J.O. Trice.
"This takes the guess work out of traffic lights," said Trice. "Under the present system we see a lot of people making tough choices as lights are about to change.
"This device lets drivers know exactly how long before the light changes. With the two components you have two ways of knowing how much time you have.
"This eliminates the risk."
While there's still some remaining groundwork, Trice and Patton believe the timers will be installed at lights in the near future.
"All we're waiting on now is approval from municipalities," said Trice. "Otherwise it's a done deal."
Trice also said the county would benefit with job opportunities as the plan is to manufacture the signals within Bolivar County.
"We want the public to know that we're also trying to bring new business that will offer employment," said Trice. "Right now we're looking at about 30 people, but that could mushroom into hundreds."
Patton has been working on the concept for the past nine months and said it was a relief to hear the patent office received his application.
"I feel really good about it," said Patton. "I won't be completely satisfied until everything is complete."