Time to Stop. Could Right Turn on Red Come to an End in Texas?
There has been an increase across Texas, and the country, in the number of people getting injured or even killed crossing an intersection. A majority of that is due to both pedestrians and motorists simply not paying attention to their surroundings. It doesn't matter how many times we warn someone or reemphasize the dangers of being on a phone while driving, people still do it and the results are deadly. A practice that is used across the country is being able to make a right turn while a traffic light is red. Some believe this practice could go away because of the increasing number of accidents it's causing.
The Numbers to Back it Up
In 2022, a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that more than 7,500 people were either injured or killed by vehicles. In another study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the odds of a person being struck by someone driving a pickup truck were 89% higher. The odds of someone being struck by an SUV were 63% higher. Why? Each vehicle has a larger blind spot (KLTV). People driving those vehicles are not fully looking at their surroundings are causing accidents with people.
Cities That Have Banned the Practice
Large cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois and Ann Arbor, Michigan have banned the practice in all or certain parts of their city. New York City banned the practice many years ago. Other cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver have looked into similar bans.
Banned in East Texas
Even in East Texas, there is at least one intersection where right turn on red is prohibited. If you're coming off of Highway 64 from the west onto Loop 323, you cannot turn right on red. You have to wait for a green light to do so.
Will the practice come to end in Texas?
While nothing is being talked about it now in Austin, if accident numbers continue to rise and more studies show it is a problem, the practice could very well come to an end. In the meantime, put your phone down when behind the wheel, stop driving like you're the only person on the road and pay attention to your surroundings everywhere you go. Doing those three things will greatly reduce the number of accidents in general across East Texas, across Texas and across the country.
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