OLYMPIA, Wash. — There’s a new controversial bill under consideration right now in Olympia that could limit turning right on a red light in certain areas while you’re driving.
Aerius Franklin, who has a disability, says he’s often in a blind spot when he crosses the street. He needs to be extra careful about his safety, and he says passing the bill would be a game changer to keep more people safe.
Franklin said he uses a posterior walker, so he knows to always check crosswalks twice.
“If somebody comes down here and turns, I’m right here to try to get off,” Franklin said. “I can get hit. Also, it can cause an accident.”
Franklin welcomes House Bill 1582, and believes it’s a small step in the right direction to ensure safety for people with disabilities and others.
“There was a time when I was on the crosswalk in the middle, and the car has literally cut me off then I waved me off and said ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t see you,'” Franklin said. “Ultimately, if I wasn’t paying attention to myself and a driver, that could’ve led to me getting into a serious accident.”
Turning right on a red light has been a federal right since the 1970s. If the bill is passed, drivers could no longer make the turn within 1,000 feet of designated places like daycares, public parks, hospitals senior centers, libraries and more.
Herb Krohn, legislative director of Smart Transportation Division, represents 2,000 railroad employees. He says he understands the importance of safety, but wants to keep traffic moving.
“It really hinders mobility… movement of commerce…. trucks and shipments to move,” Krohn said.
Krohn said the bill needs more planning before it gets passed.
“We need to look at the problems and find rational reasonable solutions to address the issue around traffic and around traffic safety, and motor vehicle safety, not just try to put emotional blanket provision that is not well thought out as state law,” Krohn said.
If the bill is passed into law, it will go into effect July 1, 2024.
There is no word yet on when a vote will be held.
Peter W. Choi joined the 4 News Now team in April 2022 as a multimedia journalist. Peter was born and raised in South Korea and graduated from Seattle Pacific University where he studied Communication. After graduating, Peter worked for Arirang TV as a general assignment reporter covering the Korean peninsula as well as international news. When Peter is not in the newsroom, you can catch him beatboxing and singing. Peter is currently living in Spokane with his wife and dog, Parker (Yes, Peter and Parker go together). For any news tips, email him at email@example.com. You can also find him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.