NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #5

Right Turn On Red

When Right-Turn-On-Red (RTOR) was adopted across the country, in response to an energy crisis — because it would save fuel — it had its critics, most notably the anti-destination league led by the insurance industry.

The claim was that such a radical law would increase accidents. Later they proved that there indeed was an increase in right turn accidents at controlled intersection. However, they left out the part about the major reduction in rear-end collisions far exceeding the minor increase in right turn accidents.

Thereafter the issue remained quiet and millions of man-hours and millions of gallons of fuel have been saved by motorists, and overall accident numbers went down.

The RTOR laws were fairly uniform in that they required a vehicle operator to come to a complete stop, yield to cross traffic and pedestrians, and only then proceed with the right turn. In practice, if cross traffic and pedestrians are not present, drivers slow to a near stop and then proceed with their turn. The spirit, if not the letter, of the law is obeyed.

The “stop first” requirement is seldom enforced and no one is disadvantaged in the process. This is no secret. Cross traffic and pedestrians still have the right-of-way and RTOR vehicles yield to these entities.

Never to miss an opportunity to rip off motorists, the ticket camera companies have seized the moment to profit from the difference between how RTOR is actually practiced and the actual law. In some cities, where longer yellow lights have been forced into place, RTOR tickets are being used to pick up the revenue slack. We can shut this exploitation down.

Find the contact information for your specific legislators and write them a simple letter that the RTOR law be amended, from requiring a complete stop, to requiring that drivers making a RTOR must yield to all other traffic and pedestrians.

Explain that this will save time, save fuel, further reduce rear-end collisions, and bring the law into sync with normal and safe driver behavior, as it exits now. If your legislator agrees to your request, let us know and the NMA will certainly get solidly behind the effort.

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