Full disclosure….I didn’t read the WTAE article before submitting my last post.
Based on that article, now that I read it, not only did WTAE not do any fact checking, but maybe our state legislators didn’t do much either, since the article states that the reason for the bill was a motorcyclist group telling the bill’s sponsor that their motorcycles were “too light”.
One problem that I see with this is that signal detectors don’t seem to consistently work correctly or incorrectly. This seems to be more prevalent in the “state-of-the-art” type signal detectors such as the “Wexford Flats” project where some type of camera detection (not in pavement loops) is used for the left turn phases. They seem to have about a 50-50 chance of detecting a car in the left turn lanes.
So, if a traffic signal doesn’t detect you and you go thru on the red signal, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work correctly the next 9 or 99 times, which could make it difficult if you get a ticket.
I’m also wondering — how many people will know about this law anyway? And how many people will go through the light if they’ve been waiting for 2-3 minutes without it changing and the coast is clear? I remember being stuck in the Getgo/waterworks exit on a Christmas. Light didn’t change on Freeport for 5 minutes. So I turned left on red when there were 0 cars. I treated it like a stopsign. If there was a cop watching, they wouldn’t have done anything anyway.
I think the law was made to protect people who do this, but it can be hard to prove one way or another that a light wasn’t working.
My guess is that this will fall into the trash heap with all the other well intentioned laws that had zero real life usefulness until someone gets a ticket for it and brings it up in court and then says that the light wasn’t working properly. Then neither side can prove whether it was working or it wasn’t, and the judge will have to make some sort of decision based on a guess, or maybe a 20 sided dice from a D&D set.
I’m quite confused, as I thought this was already built into existing law. Why did we need a law specifically for this? Very odd that our state legislators have time to deal with this micro-condition given the enormous number of other things they could be dealing with. Like, I don’t know, drivers getting no penalties for killing people.
I fail to understand how this law does not mean, “Aw, screw it, I’m tired of waiting, I’m just gonna go,” when you’ve been waiting all of eight seconds, just long enough for the opposing turn arrow to cycle to green, and whaddya know, there are now cars in your direct path as you’re getting up to speed.
If this does not kill someone by Thanksgiving, somewhere in the state, I will be very surprised.