Vehicles have not always been able to legally turn right at a red light. In fact, it was not until the 1970s that traffic laws changed in Indiana and other parts of the country to allow right-on-red turns in an effort to lessen demand on fuel during a time when gas prices were soaring. However, soon after the traffic laws were changed, researchers began documenting an increase in pedestrian accidents.
Dangers of turning right at a red light
When traffic is stopped at a red light, pedestrians are allowed to cross the street. However, in many situations, vehicles are also allowed to make a right turn while the traffic light is red after the car comes to a stop. The danger of pedestrian and bike accidents increases when those crossing the street assume no traffic will be turning into the crosswalk while they are crossing. Additionally, drivers, who are supposed to yield to pedestrians crossing the street, can be distracted and not see the person crossing.
Many cities have passed laws banning right turns at red lights that will take effect as early as 2025. Other cities have seen this issue come to the forefront as fatal auto-pedestrian accidents increase due to population growth and more cars on the road.
Some argue that drivers should not be able to make decisions on their own regarding turning right at a red light. People are busy and might not have the concentration necessary to be aware of the potential to harm others during such a maneuver.
For those who have been injured by a vehicle turning right at a red light, filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver could be the best solution to find help with medical bills and lost wages. While insurance claims can be tricky, filing could be the start to get you back on your feet.