Letters to the Editor: Can we reduce pedestrian deaths while keeping right turns on red?

A crosswalk at 94th and Figueroa in Los Angeles.
A crosswalk at 94th and Figueroa streets in Los Angeles in 2019.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Robin Abcarian believes right turns on red should be banned because of increasing pedestrian deaths. I believe her idea needs further view.

Abcarian notes that laws allowing right turns on red lights were passed in response to the 1973 oil crisis. Currently, California is experiencing another energy crisis because of the high price of gasoline. Now might not be the time to change a law that saves fuel by reducing the amount of time cars are idling and intersections.

The increase in the cost of gasoline from greater use because of no more right turns on red could be negligible, but it’s worth exploring.


Stephanie Gaude, Lakewood


To the editor: Amazing that Abcarian and I feel exactly the same way about right turns on red. My solution is not to signal until the light turns green.

Take that, impatient drivers behind me!

Sherry Runyon, South Pasadena


To the editor: I’m appalled at the thousands of pedestrians killed by inconsiderate, selfish drivers who do not observe laws that already exist.

Before the crosswalk, there is what’s called the limit line. Drivers must stop at the line and proceed with caution if turning right on a red light.

Enforcement of the existing law is more urgent than passing a new law that folks will ignore just like the one we have now.


Slowly, some turn-lane arrows are being changed from red to flashing yellow. This improves the flow of traffic, just like the right turn on red does now.

Roy W. Rising, Valley Village


To the editor: The right turn on red law permits but does not require such action. I have been in situations in which it was hazardous to proceed while the driver behind me expressed impatience.

If for any reason the driver wishing to make a right turn feels discomfort at making the turn on red, that driver can wait behind the crosswalk until the signal turns green without violating any laws.

Tom Staple, Irvine