Follow the Leader
overhead sign. As the last vehicle in line, an old minivan, approached the corner, the woman waved furiously and shouted, "Stop! You can't turn now." The driver looked at her, puzzled--and then turned, too.
Pat Cawley, a city hall traffic expert, says he's heard little complaint about no-turn-on-red violations at this particular intersection. He hears more about the nearby Maple-Jackson corner--but usually from drivers angry that they were ticketed for illegal turns, not from cowed pedestrians. Typically, he says, the drivers complain they just didn't see the signs.
Cawley estimates that of the city's approximately 150 "signalized" intersections, twenty or thirty have "no turn on red" restrictions. But many drivers simply assume they can turn right on red anywhere, he says. It doesn't help that older drivers never learned the "right on red" rules in school. Until a federal mandate took effect in 1980, they were illegal in Michigan and many other states.
[Originally published in August, 2013.]