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New Ohio law lets you drive through a red light "if you think it's malfunctioning"

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Mar 3, 2011
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*waits 2 seconds...YEP IT'S BROKEN! VRRRRROOOOOOOM!*

CNN said:
A new state law that takes effect in March will let drivers in Ohio legally drive through a red light.

But on one condition: Drivers, after first coming to a full stop at the light, must believe that the red light is malfunctioning before driving through it.

If that sounds like an invitation to roll up to every red light and keep on trucking, that's not the intention. But many worry that's exactly what will happen.

"I don't know if it's the wisest decision. People are already in a hurry going nowhere anyway," driving instructor Charlie Allen told CNN affiliate WBNS.

 
May 16, 2014
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I assume every red light that I get stuck at in the middle of the night when there is noone else around is malfunctioning.
 

5taquitos

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Apr 8, 2014
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Don't red lights either flash or turn off when they malfunction?

Even if they didn't, this seems unbelievably stupid.
 

Skellig Gra

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Aug 24, 2007
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Seems like an unnecessary law. If you do run in to this scenario AND get caught then its easily defensible. "Officer just turn around and see that the light never turns green"
 

adj_noun

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May 28, 2013
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But on one condition: Drivers, after first coming to a full stop at the light, must believe that the red light is malfunctioning before driving through it.

Prove I didn't believe it, copper.
 

Ithil

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Apr 19, 2011
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Green means go
Yellow means prepare to stop
Red means stop, if you want to, if you don't, go.
 

Volimar

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Jun 11, 2011
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We do get quite a few black outs etc. I'm always pleasantly surprised to find the number of drivers who know how to treat a malfunctioning light. Aside from a few dumbasses trying to use this to get out of tickets, I doubt we'll see many problems.
 

Smellycat

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Jun 12, 2011
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This happens all the time to turn left signals! I usually have to wait 2 or 3 cycles at some traffic lights before it finally turns green.
 

NOLA_Gaffer

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Jun 15, 2015
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I remember being out late one night and sitting at a red light for what seemed like five minutes. I eventually just drove through since I was the only car on the road at the time.
 

hoserx

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Feb 27, 2013
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I live in Ohio and there is a red light I deal with every single morning at about 4:40 am. No one is at the intersection but me...........and I always have to wait 5-6 minutes. I have to be on the air at 5am so it can get hairy sometimes.......... I will run this light from now on. (starting in March haha).
 

ShyMel

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Oct 25, 2014
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But on one condition: Drivers, after first coming to a full stop at the light, must believe that the red light is malfunctioning before driving through it.
And how does one prove that they believe it's broken? Post an angry rant on Facebook over it?
 
Sep 6, 2016
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Yeah, this sounds exactly like the sort of bill that gets passed after some lawmaker (or their kids) got punished with a ticket or jailtime for blowing through a red light.
 
Jul 18, 2008
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They passed a similar law in PA. On some roads lights only change when a sensor is triggered, and there are times the sensor doesn't work as intended and the light never changes from red. It is apparently a big problem for motorcyclists.
 
Dec 8, 2008
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Malfunctioning red lights are bullshit. I've been there a number of times and drove on through after awhile. Like the sensor doesn't feel the weight of the car so it never turns green.
 

Regiruler

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Jun 4, 2013
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This is some stupid shit

Unless you have some metric for malfunctioning (30 seconds red with no incoming traffic), this will be easily exploited
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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It's like stand your ground but it lets you run over a pedestrian instead of shoot a black person.
 

QuantumBro

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Mar 15, 2011
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There's one light on my to my work commute that requires a car to basically be touching the crosswalk to trigger. Twice I've been behind another car and have had to get out of my space and cut in front of them to get it to trigger.
 

ced

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Jun 7, 2004
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They passed a similar law in PA. On some roads lights only change when a sensor is triggered, and there are times the sensor doesn't work as intended and the light never changes from red. It is apparently a big problem for motorcyclists.

Happens all the time to me, it's exactly what this law is for. However I don't think it's needed, it only happens when there are no other cars, so it's safe to go through after waiting for minutes and there isn't a vehicle in sight.
 

thecouncil

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Jan 26, 2008
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Yeah, Pennsylvania has had this since September. I used to back up a bit / drive forward again to trigger the sensor but now I just drive on through.
 

Zoe

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Jan 3, 2007
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Isn't this basic driving rules? If the light is off, stuck, or flashing, treat it like a stop sign?

If it's stuck, the only thing you're supposed to do is take a right turn.

There's one light on my to my work commute that requires a car to basically be touching the crosswalk to trigger. Twice I've been behind another car and have had to get out of my space and cut in front of them to get it to trigger.

I've gotten out and hit the crosswalk button before.
 
Nov 29, 2016
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Pretty sure there are already laws like this for motorcycles due to some signals not being triggered by bikes. Or laws that say to treat a broken signal like a stop sign. There are a few laws that are determined by judgment of the driver. Speed limits dont apply in bad weather, instead its "what is safe for the conditions" that doesnt mean you have the free reign to do 70 in a blizzard. I dont see what the big deal is.
 

Prologue

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Sep 4, 2010
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I already do this. I spent 5 minutes the other day just waiting at the light to turn left, with barely any cars on the road.
 

capitalCORN

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Apr 15, 2005
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Pretty sure there are already laws like this for motorcycles due to some signals not being triggered by bikes. Or laws that say to treat a broken signal like a stop sign....I dont see what the big deal is.

The law has no guideline to a quantifiable measure for a driver to determine if a light is malfunctioning or not. It's carte blanche.
 
Nov 29, 2016
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The law has no guideline to a quantifiable measure for a driver to determine if a light is malfunctioning or not. It's carte blanche.

I could be wrong but I dont think there is a quantifiable measure for motorcycles being stuck at a red light either.
 

Trickster

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Sep 25, 2009
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I...kinda get why it could be needed. But still, shouldn't need to have a law for that.
 

jtb

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Jun 20, 2009
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Is this not already common practice? Treating a malfunctioning stoplight as a 4 way stop sign? I need to go back to Driver's ed apparently.
 

Zoe

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Jan 3, 2007
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Is this not already common practice? Treating a malfunctioning stoplight as a 4 way stop sign? I need to go back to Driver's ed apparently.

If it's flashing, yes. If it's stuck on solid, no. The only thing you're allowed to do on a solid is turn (after stopping).
 

WedgeX

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Nov 21, 2004
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Suburbanites driving through Detroit have been assuming every red light has been malfunctioning since the 1980s. Sad that Ohio has followed suit.
 

Somnid

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Aug 9, 2006
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Aren't there already rules for this? That a malfunctioning light is treated like stop sign? It doesn't matter if it's malfunctioning, what if it is and two drivers go at the same time and T-bone eachother? Why would anyone bother proposing this?
 

SpecX

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Apr 26, 2009
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Makes sense in theory, but opens the door for many people to exploit it. The rain jacked up one of the sensors at the light near work. Everyone was getting their turn for green except the side I was on. Everyone decided to run the light in this event together since we had waited 3 cycles with no change.
 
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