(800) 561-4887

No Fee If We Don't Win

Surging Pedestrian Deaths Lead Cities to Consider Right Turn on Red Ban

A red traffic light at a pedestrian crossing

A dramatic increase in pedestrian accidents resulting in major injuries or fatalities has pushed several areas to consider law changes to boost safety.

According to the Associated Press, several cities and jurisdictions are considering or have already approved a number of infrastructural changes, policy updates, and new driving laws. Some cities have even moved to ban drivers from turning right on red lights, though this change has sparked the most intense debates.

Trend Sparks Change in Laws

For example, Washington D.C.’s City Council last year approved a right-on-red ban, which will take effect in 2025. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition plan will limit right turns on red.

The college town of Ann Arbor in Michigan now bans right turns at red lights in its downtown area. San Francisco leaders recently voted to urge their transportation agency to ban right on red citywide. Cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and Denver have also looked into such a ban.

While pedestrian and bicycle accident victims are speaking up in favor of these moves, critics are saying that such blanket bans would not make streets any safer. Safety advocates counter that argument by pointing out that official crash reports often tend to be mislabeled, underestimating the dangers.

The United States is one of the few major countries that allows right turns on red. Such turns have never been allowed across most of New York City, where large signs alert visitors that the practice is prohibited there.

Pedestrian Accidents Increasing

Pedestrian accidents involving injuries and fatalities have been surging over the last several years. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), more than 7,500 people walking were struck and killed by vehicles in 2022 – the highest number since 1981. This increase has been attributed in part to an increase in larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, on the road.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the likelihood that a vehicle turning right would injure a pedestrian fatally was 89% higher when the vehicle was a pickup and 63% higher when it was an SUV. This is because these vehicles have larger blind spots and deadlier force associated with the heavier models.

Why Right-Turn Accidents Are Dangerous for Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents involving vehicles turning right can be particularly fatal due to a combination of factors that amplify the risk of severe injuries or fatalities. One key element is the interaction between the turning vehicle and the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

As vehicles turn right, especially at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrians often have the right of way to cross. However, drivers may fail to notice pedestrians, especially if they are focused on checking for oncoming traffic from the left.

Moreover, the turning motion of the vehicle increases the potential for a more direct and forceful impact. Pedestrians are vulnerable because they may not anticipate the turning vehicle or may misjudge its speed, leading to inadequate reaction time. In some cases, drivers may execute the turn without a proper check for pedestrians in the crosswalk, resulting in a collision.

Additionally, visibility can be a critical factor. Large vehicles, such as pickups, SUVs, trucks, or buses, may have blind spots that hinder the driver’s ability to see pedestrians. This reduced visibility can contribute to accidents, making it essential for drivers to exercise extra caution when turning right, especially in urban areas with high pedestrian traffic.

The injury and fatality risks in pedestrian accidents involving right-turning vehicles arise from factors such as inattentiveness, failure to yield, reduced visibility, and the vulnerability of pedestrians to the impact of turning vehicles. Increased awareness, adherence to traffic regulations, and improved road design can all help alleviate these risks and enhance pedestrian safety.

What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, taking immediate steps to ensure your well-being and protect your legal rights is crucial.

  • First and foremost, seek medical attention promptly, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries may manifest or worsen over time, and a medical professional can accurately assess your condition.
  • Contact local law enforcement to report the accident and ensure that an official record is created.
  • Collect information from the driver involved, including their name, contact details, and insurance information.
  • If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information as well, as their statements may be valuable later.
  • Preserve evidence by taking photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any contributing factors, such as traffic signals or road conditions. This documentation can be vital for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  • Notify your insurance company about the incident as soon as possible.
  • Consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and explore potential legal actions. They can guide you through the process, help gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Remember, seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to ensure you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Acting promptly and thoughtfully in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can significantly improve the outcome of your case.

Bisnar Chase has handled countless pedestrian accident injury cases with great success. Contact our team now for a free consultation and expert representation.


FREE Case Evalution

Our staff will evaluate your case submission and respond in a timely manner.

California Personal Injury Blog