1. #1
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    Running a red light

    Hey guys,
    I have a question about running red lights. I remember a conversation my Dad had with his friend years ago about what consitututes running a red light and I always wondered what is considered a red light violation. I remember my Dad saying that once both axles, assuming you're in a 2 axle vehicle, pass the last cross walk line and the light turns red, that is not a violation.

    I don't remember what his friend said about it, but he pretty much disagreed.

    So my question is, by law, where does your vehicle/axles have to be when the light turns red to not be considered a violation?

  2. #2
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    To be considered "not running a read light," your vehicle needs to be located outside of the intersection in a manner some would describe as "stopped."

    It doesn't matter where in the intersection you are, if the light turns red and you're in it, you've run the light. To combat this, they've installed the "yellow light" to help warn motorists of the approaching red light.

    Hope this helps. Sorry if it comes off sarcastic, I'm tired and my pup won't let me sleep.

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    Here in WI, the rules are thus:

    For a yellow light - When shown with or following the green, traffic facing a yellow signal shall stop before entering the intersection unless so close to it that a stop may not be made in safety.

    For a red light - Vehicular traffic facing a red signal shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of an intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection or at such other point as may be indicated by a clearly visible sign or marking and shall remain standing until green or other signal permitting movement is shown.

    The yellow light violation can be enforced, but it has to be pretty blatant. I've written it and successfully argued it in court, but I had video showing the vehicle was clearly able to stop, but sped up to make the light.

    For the red light violation, no part of the vehicle can legally the vertical plane created by the near crosswalk line, traffic control signal paint strip or, barring either of those, the post on which the traffic control signal is located.

    Once again, this is WI and your laws may be different. But that whole 2 axles thing sounds pretty convuluted to me.

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    Ca has a big white line indicating the intersection. The front of your car must
    be behind that line when the light changes red. We use a BIG white line so the officer can have a clear view of the front of the motorist car is when the light changes from yellow to red.

  5. #5
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    CVC 21453(a): 21453. (a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).

    CVC 21452(a): 21452. (a) A driver facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is, by that signal, warned that the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown immediately thereafter.

    Implication: As long as you enter the crosswalk or, if there is none, the intersection, before the light turns red, you have not run the red light.
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    Indiana is a touchdown state. Break the plane of the white line before the red light and you can clear the intersection.

    Marion County's ordinance is more strict, though, and says that if you can safely stop for the yellow light you must do so. No accelerating to catch the light, etc.

    Also, just because you are in the intersection doesn't mean you haven't commited a violation. Some big intersections will allow three or four cars to be out in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left and then the light turns red and all the cars clear the intersection. You can be cited for obstructing traffic even though you entered on a green because you entered without the ability to clear the intersection before other traffic would have the right of way, and you are now impeding the flow of traffic.

  7. #7
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    Kentucky is similar to Indiana. If you pass the stop bar (big white line at the intersection) prior to the light turning red you may clear the intersection. However, if you pull into the intersection, and there is no where for you to go, ie; you get stuck in the intersection and block the cross street, you can be cited for blocking the roadway.
    Also, if you are in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left and the light changes red, the law requires that the other traffic yield to you to allow you to complete your turn.

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    Thanks for the responses.

    So if I read correctly, in CA where my parents live, my Dad was correct. And thanks lexcoptk for answering a follow up question I was going to ask regarding "what if you're turning left and the light turns red..."

    This is just one of those things I had always wondered about.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guams View Post
    I'm tired and my pup won't let me sleep.
    Bark Bark! Grrrr.
    Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pujolsfan146 View Post
    Bark Bark! Grrrr.
    That sound is so familiar.

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    I havent heard the "touchdown" remark, but it fits perfectly for CA. As long as you break the plane before the light turns red you are fine. There is also a delay between the red light for one direction and the green for the other to allow cars to clear out of the intersection.

  12. #12
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    Same in Florida. If your vehicle is "in" the intersection already when it turns red, you may proceed through it. If you enter the intersection after it turns red, you've "run" the light.

    This is why, in Florida anyway, it is perfectly legal when turning left (across traffic) to pull to the middle of the intersection, wait for the light to turn red (and cross traffic stops) and then turn through the light. Just be out of the intersection before the other side turns green, otherwise you get into issues with "obstructing traffic" and "improper stopping/standing"
    Sheriff: We just take turns being the sheriff. It's real easy. You just hang out here, eat some pie, and get drunk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CruiserClass View Post
    Indiana is a touchdown state. Break the plane of the white line before the red light and you can clear the intersection.


    Thats how they do the red light cameras in MD. Just break the plane of the white line.
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