California has the distinction of being the first state to allow people to turn right at a red light back in 1939. It had several advantages, especially during the oil crisis of the 1970s.
But there are some people who believe that it increases the risk of accidents, and now several states are considering banning it. California is one of those states.
The current rules of “right on red”
Unless there is a sign forbidding it, turning right on red is currently permitted in California with the following two rules:
1. You must come to a complete stop
2. You have to yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic
Failure to obey the law can result in significant penalties, including a $1,073 fine and attending traffic school.
However, over 7,500 pedestrians were killed in 2022, which is the highest number since 1971. Many people blame these fatalities on people who are not following the rules. Therefore, many cities and states are considering banning the practice of turning right on red.
Washington, D.C., has approved the ban, which will take effect in 2025. In California, San Francisco lawmakers are unanimous in their request for the Municipal Transportation Authority to eliminate the ability for drivers to turn right on red. Other cities, such as Los Angeles, are expected to follow suit.
Opponents of the ban state that a tiny percentage of accidents are caused by motorists turning right at a red light. But the fact remains that there are far too many catastrophic accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Anyone injured by someone turning right on red may need to learn more about their options to claim the compensation they deserve.