Bill to allow red light running passes committee in Utah House

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah drivers get ready to break an old road law and safely go through a red-light.

House Bill 416 would allow drivers to go through a red-light if the driver stops first, safely looks in all directions for no other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Ken Ivory, said people would treat it like a four-way stop if the bill passed.  He said a constituent suggested to him Utah drivers needed this law.

“He was on his way to the airport, stuck at a red light- we’ve all been there-,” said Rep. Ivory as he described his constituent’s story.  “The red light was terminal; one after another after another and nobody is here, nobody is here.  He went through the red light. There was a police officer in a parking lot nearby. Got a ticket. Went to court to defend the ticket and said (to the judge) ‘look there was no one there. I looked all around there wasn’t anyone around,’ and the judge told him there is no common sense clause in the statute. This is the common sense clause. If you come to a red light and you stop at the red light, and there is no one around- there are no pedestrians around. There are no bicycles around and the red light will not change you can proceed safely through.”

Rep. Ivory said after he started discussing the issue with his colleagues and neighbors he started to get the feeling this was a necessary law to change.

“It was like they came out of the woodwork. I’ve had people telling me ‘I have had the same situation.’”

U-DOT sent us this statement opposed to the bill:

"This is part of the legislative process. We do have concerns with where this bill is headed. 

Giving people the opportunity to run a red light, for whatever reason, is a safety risk. 

Crashes and deaths at intersections are the most common type of crash and continue to be of significant concern in Utah, and this bill creates additional confusing and potentially unsafe situations."

HB 416 passed out of a House committee meeting and will go to the full House for a vote.