Imagine a person in a hurry driving down Florida roads. It frustrates them to sit and wait at a red light. In Florida, as in many states across the United States, motor vehicle operators have the option to turn right on a red light in several circumstances. While this adds convenience, some argue that it creates a dangerous situation that puts pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.
The downside of right turns
Most pedestrians and bicyclists have experienced near-miss accidents when they cross the street and find themselves face-to-face with a motor vehicle operator who wants to make a right-hand turn on a red light. These incidents happen because it is up to the driver to determine if the conditions are safe enough for them to turn right on a red light.
Thankfully, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents caused by turning right on red is minimal. However, even the loss of just one life because of this practice can cause concern and make people want to revisit the idea of whether or not making a right-hand turn on red is a good idea.
The upside of right turns
However, from a motorist’s standpoint, being forced to sit idle at a red light before they can turn right is frustrating. It feels like a waste of time. Looking at it from a countrywide view means that many vehicles are just sitting idle, burning gas every day. The relatively low number of fatal accidents caused by turning right on red gives credence to the idea that, in most cases, motorists can use good judgment and know when it’s appropriate to turn right.
Driving is a huge responsibility. Traffic laws are in place to help drivers make safe decisions. The debate about turning right at a red light will likely continue as lawmakers strive to balance driver convenience with pedestrian safety.