Red light bill raises concerns with UDOT
Feb 27, 2018, 11:01 PM | Updated: 11:08 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Legislation that would allow drivers to continue through red lights when the lights aren’t changing advanced to the full house, despite concerns raised by the Utah Department of Transportation.
H.B. 416 advanced from a house committee Tuesday.
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, characterized the measure as a “common sense, safe-on-red” bill.
“H.B. 416 only applies when a driver comes to a complete stop and the light is not working, there are no cars, pedestrians or bicycles present,” Ivory said Tuesday. “In that case only, the driver may proceed safely.”
UDOT officials said they were concerned about the potential consequences of a change in the law.
“We are concerned about where this bill is headed,” spokesman Zach Whitney said. “It could create a potentially more confusing situation, and that’s what we don’t want to see.”
Whitney noted statistics that show roughly 36 percent of road fatalities happen at urban intersections.
“I was surprised that UDOT was so against it, because to me it just seems like a common sense bill, right?” said Brian Tenney, a driver who was ticketed six months ago in South Jordan for driving through a red light that wouldn’t change at 4:30 a.m.
Tenney said he felt he had done everything right and there were no other cars or pedestrians around when he ultimately drove through the red light after several minutes of waiting.
“When I went and talked to the judge, he said, ‘Sorry, there’s nothing we can do, you ran the red light, you got the ticket, it is what it is,’” Tenney recalled. “He said, ‘If you want to go fix it, go talk to your representative’ and that’s when I decided to bring it up with Ken Ivory.”
Tenney said he hoped lawmakers would ultimately adopt the legislation, despite UDOT’s objections.
“We cannot get stuck at red lights needlessly waiting for a technology that doesn’t work,” Tenney said.