Chicago personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. notes that one of the most common causes of pedestrian injury cases is when a driver makes a right turn on red and strikes a pedestrian or pedestrians who are walking in the crosswalk to the right of the driver. The problem is that when drivers make a right turn on red, their attention is focused to the left to watch for approaching cars. When a driver sees that there are no approaching cars or that an approaching car is far enough back to make the right hand turn, his focus is still to the left to make sure that it is safe. Then the driver is supposed to look to see if there are pedestrians in the crosswalk to the left. A recent study published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspective in May of 2023, illustrated why right turns on red are so problematic. The study concluded that “at red-light turns, driver attention was heavily skewed toward the leftward traffic.” Additionally, the pedestrians may feel a false sense of safety and may not be looking out for cars since they have the walk signal.
Studies that looked into the effects of right on red on pedestrian safety bear out the dangers of allowing right on red. A study conducted by the Journal of Safety in 1982 after right on red was implemented in many states found that; accidents rose 40% for pedestrians and 82% for bikes in New York State. Likewise in Wisconsin, the figures were 107% for pedestrians and 72% bicyclists. And finally, Ohio saw an increase of accidents of 57% for pedestrians and 80% for bicyclists. The statistics show that there were dramatic increases of pedestrian accidents after the implementation of right on red.
The city of New York has already banned the practice of right on red and San Francisco and Los Angles are considering a ban. The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. suggest that Chicago put pedestrian safety first and seriously consider of taking the lead and ban right on red in the city of Chicago.