Should Michigan Consider a Complete Right Turn on Red Ban?
For more than 40 years, Michigan has enjoyed the freedom of turning right when a traffic light is red. But is it time for Michigan to consider banning the practice?
Can You Turn Right on Red in Michigan?
According to Michigan law section 257.612, drivers are permitted to turn right at a red traffic signal as long as the vehicle comes to a full stop before entering the intersection and there is no sign prohibiting a right turn on red.
Motorists must also yield the right of way to pedestrians, bicyclists, and traffic crossing the intersection.
With just a few exceptions, turning right on red has been the law in most US states since 1980.
One Michigan City Has Banned Right Turn on Red
In October of last year, the city of Ann Arbor banned turning right on red at 50 downtown intersections, busy, high-traffic areas frequented by University of Michigan students. The Ann Arbor City Council cited statistics from 2017 to 2021 where 90 crashes involved pedestrians in the busy downtown area.
Other areas are jumping on the bandwagon as well. The state of Hawaii has banned turning right on red in Honolulu where tourist traffic is heavy. Washington DC will eliminate the practice at most intersections in 2025. Berkeley, California, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver are considering similar proposals.
Should Michigan Consider a Total Ban Right Turn on Red Ban?
Despite Ann Arbor's recent ban, there are no definitive studies that prove right turn on red leads to more pedestrian or cyclist deaths. As of today, there have been no statewide proposals to ban the practice.
A national report by the Governors Highway Safety Association says that 7,500 pedestrians were struck and killed by automobiles in 2022, the highest number since 1981. However, the data did not extrapolate statistics for right-turn-on-red accidents.
Opponents say banning right on red will inconvenience motorists, slow down commuters, and delay deliveries.
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