A commercial vehicle makes a right turn on red at an intersection that prohibits the turn Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, in Chicago. A dramatic rise in accidents killing or injuring pedestrians and bicyclists has led to a myriad of policy and infrastructure changes, but moves to ban right on red have drawn some of the most intense sentiments on both sides. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)A passenger vehicle makes a right turn on red at an intersection that prohibits the turn Tuesday, Oct.
But Jay Beeber, executive director for policy at the National Motorists Association, an advocacy organization for drivers, called it a “fallacy” to assume such blanket bans would make streets safer. “It’s an example of bad policy,” said Bill Schultheiss, director of engineering at Toole Design Group, which consults with public transportation agencies. “It made sense in the context of the gas crisis, but it was way oversold on what it would achieve. It’s a mandate that doesn’t consider the full consequences.”
Critics argue that banning right on red will not only inconvenience motorists but also slow down commuter buses and deliveries. The United Parcel Service hasn’t taken an official position on right on red but has long directed its drivers to avoid left turns whenever possible, viewing them as inefficient.
According to a national report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, more than 7,500 people walking were struck and killed by automobiles in 2022, the highest number since 1981. The spike, which— not just those involving right turns on red, was attributed in part to an increase in larger vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks on the road.
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