Archive for December, 2023

Intersection Accidents Spark Right-on-Red Debate

Houston City Hall building and traffic at night in downtown Houston, Texas

Texas considers ending right turns on red due to spike in crashes

Most states, including Texas, permit right turns at signaled intersections in the absence of oncoming traffic. However, an increase in fatal intersection accidents  – particularly in Houston – has prompted calls to restrict right turns on red lights.

Just this month, Houston has experienced several fatal accidents at intersections, including:

According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, this optional maneuver always posed a risk but has become more dangerous over time due to the popularity of large trucks and SUVs, which can limit a driver’s visibility. When scanning for gaps in traffic to take a right turn on red, the larger vehicles increase the potential for drivers to miss pedestrians, cyclists, and on-coming vehicles.

Determining who is at fault in a right turn on red accident is often complicated, but an experienced Houston car accident lawyer can guide injured victims successfully through the process.

Who has the right of way in a right-on-red turn?

In Texas, as in many other places, the right of way law says that drivers are allowed to make a right turn after coming to a complete stop, provided that it is safe to do so and there is no conflicting traffic. Here are the key points regarding the right of way for right turns on red lights in Texas:

  • Come to a complete stop. Before making a right turn on red, the driver must come to a complete stop at the stop line or before entering the intersection.
  • Check for traffic. Drivers must ensure that there is no oncoming traffic from the left and that it is safe to make the right turn. This includes checking for pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks – even in intersections with RTOR options.
  • No turn on red signs. Some intersections may have specific signs indicating that right turns on red are not allowed. In such cases, drivers must wait for a green signal.
  • Traffic signal changes. If the traffic signal changes to green while a driver is waiting to make a right turn on red, they should yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and proceed with caution.

Who is at fault in RTOR accidents?

Fault and liability can be unclear in RTOR accidents, as well. Typically, the turning driver is at fault, but not always. There are many questions to ask and factors to consider, including:

  • Did the crash involve any traffic law violations?
  • Could the driver see the victim, or was their view obstructed?
  • Did the driver fail to gauge the speed and distance of other vehicles?
  • Was the driver impaired?
  • Did they yield to pedestrians and others with the right-of-way?
  • Did the driver safely execute the turn?
  • Did the driver check for oncoming traffic?

An investigation by a car accident attorney with extensive experience handling claims in Texas can help injured victims find answers to these questions. They can interview witnesses and collect important documents and evidence to build a strong claim.

Compensation for intersection accident victims in Houston, TX

In Texas, victims injured in car accidents involving right turns on red lights may have options for financial compensation. When a driver’s negligence leads to such an accident, victims can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law, can investigate the crash, gather evidence, and negotiate aggressively with insurance companies for maximum compensation.

If you were injured in a car accident in Houston or the surrounding community, contact us for a free case evaluation. A member of our team is available 24/7 to hear from you. We can answer your questions, explain your potential legal options, and help you decide how to move forward.