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Should it be illegal to turn right at a red light?

Source%3A+Adobe+Stock+Images.
Source: Adobe Stock Images.

Proposed policy

Washington, D.C.’s City Council last year approved a right-on-red ban that will take effect in 2025. In San Francisco, the leaders recently voted to urge their transportation agency to ban on-right-red across the city and other major cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver have looked into bans as well. 

Critics argue that banning right on red will result in slowing down commuter buses and deliveries. 

According to the United Parcel Service, they “haven’t taken an official position on right on red but has long directed its drivers to avoid left turns whatever possible, viewing them as inefficient.”

The history behind the ban

Recently in Chicago, a woman named Sophee Langerman was biking her way to the Lakeview neighborhood in June when a car turning right rolled through a red light, she was free from injuries but the bike will need some repairments.

This is not the first time deaths have been caused by drivers not paying attention and turning right on red right away. This is another argument for ending in practice almost all US cities embraced for decades now to avoid more deaths.

“More than 7,500 people walking were killed by automobiles in 2022, the highest number since 1981,” the Governors Highway Safety Association wrote in their national report.

Should California ban right turns on red lights?

California should ban right turns on red lights because citizens aren’t always cautious when it comes to driving. There has been an analysis that pedestrian deaths have risen a troubling 77% between 2010 and 2021, compared to 25% of traffic fatalities. 

Everyone should always keep in mind that driving is serious, and drivers are distracted in the car. If people walking get distracted and don’t pay attention while crossing the street, what makes us drivers think that we will never be distracted while turning right on red? Every day, there’s always a chance for both the driver and pedestrians to get into an accident.

“Nearly 43.000 people were killed in the US roads in 2021, highest number in 16 years” and its “10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since NHTSA began its fatality data collection system in 1975,” the Associated Press wrote.

Driller thoughts

Statistics are based off a Blue and White Instagram poll, and student responses on campus. (Jolie Wyatt)

When asked about the proposed policy, Drillers had a lot to say. 

“I think it’s stupid… You can totally do it safe and there’s no reason to ban it. It’s a lot safer than making a left turn on a red light. And I think it should just stay legal,” Emilio Nava, senior, said. 

Nava was in agreeance with quite a bit of his peers.

“No, I mean like as long as you aren’t being an idiot when you are doing it. It’s just like a stop sign,” Dominic Carrisalez, senior said. 

On the other hand, one Driller spoke up in favor of the proposed ban.

 “I think it should be banned because it would be way more safe if you wait until the light is green. It would stress people out a lot less It would make sure everyone goes when they need to go,” Makenna Shuck, junior, said.

In an Instagram poll hosted by @bhsblueandwhite_, it was discovered that students, staff, and the community are heavily against the proposed ban. 82% of respondents stated that they opposed the ban, while only 18% of the respondents on Instagram said that they favored the ban.

Do you agree with banning right turns when red lights? Share your thoughts with The Blue and White at [email protected], on X @blueandwhitebhs, or on Instagram @bhsblueandwhite. 

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About the Contributors
Jolie Wyatt, Editor-in-Chief
Jolie Wyatt is the current Editor-in-Chief of “The Blue and White” at Bakersfield High School. When Wyatt isn’t writing or editing stories, she can be seen cheering at sporting events and rallies. Wyatt can also be found in the theater with Driller Drama.

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