Ask a trooper: Drivers must stop before turning right at red lightE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous.
Q: I realize that not every infraction can be observed by an officer, but enforcement of the right turn on red privilege seems especially lax. If this rule were known to be strictly enforced, fewer drivers would turn right on red without stopping. Even when you stop as required, there’s a risk of striking a pedestrian if your eyes are fixed toward the left waiting for a break in traffic.
A: I see that violation a lot when I am off duty and driving my own vehicle. I would hope that officers know the law and see this as something that should be enforced. To be clear, unless there is a sign near the light that specifically prohibits a right turn on red, drivers can legally make a right turn on a red light but must stop first, look both ways and turn only when safe to do so.
A lot of crashes are occurring at intersections around the state. When an officer sits at a location watching for specific violations, it seems like drivers are on their best behavior. I believe we need to simply enforce the violations we observe while on duty to make a big difference. Drivers need to be especially alert and need to watch out for all the pedestrians at intersections. This year we have already had at least six pedestrians killed on our roadways, which is more than the previous few years for this time of year. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the public.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.