COLUMBUS, Ohio. Have you ever arrived at a red light in the middle of the night and waited, and waited some more for it to change? Have you ever approached a red light that seemed to be malfunctioning and wondered what to do? Starting in March, drivers in Ohio will be permitted to legally run red lights, but only if the driver has good reason to believe that the light isn’t working. While the law seems to make common sense, critics worry that it will lead to more drivers choosing to run red lights, potentially putting everyone on the road at greater risk.
According to CNN, red light crashes in Ohio are common enough as it is. Police worry that the new law will only encourage more people to take unnecessary risks. Advocates of the new law say that the law isn’t a license to allow people to blow through a red light. Individuals will still be required to proceed with caution.
Yet the red light law has some experts, like the Columbus, Ohio car accident lawyers at E. Ray Critchett, L.L.C.: Attorney at Law wondering where the legal liability will lie should a driver get involved in a car accident while running a red light under the new law. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that the law will change civil law at all. Drivers who choose to run a red light must still yield right of way to drivers who would have had the green light. Additionally, if a driver does run a red light and is stopped by police, the burden of proof will be on the driver to show that he or she had good cause to run the red. For more information on these laws or to speak with an attorney visit www.buckeyelaw.com.
The new law may be too ambiguous, though. According to NBC4, the law treats a broken signal detector as a broken signal. Signal detectors trigger green lights. However, the law doesn’t specify how long a driver must wait at an intersection before deciding that the signal is not functioning. In essence, a driver could wait one second, run the red light, and claim a broken signal detector. Unless an officer or witness saw how long the driver waited, it isn’t clear how the law will—or won’t be—enforced.
Regardless of whether a person was running a red light, or turning, or just changing lanes, the reality is that drivers have a duty to exercise caution while on the road. Most accidents occur due to human error. The fact is that injured drivers and their families will still have civil remedies should they be injured due to a red light crash. E. Ray Critchett, L.L.C.: Attorney at Law in Columbus Ohio is a car accident lawyer who understands the unique challenges crash victims face. Our firm can review the facts of your case, look at the injuries you or a loved one sustained, and work to help you get the recovery you may deserve under the law. Personal responsibility behind the wheel remains the law.