Turning Right on Red in Virginia – It’s a Privilege Not a Right
Some of the most severe injury cases that I handle are those which involve a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle at an intersection. Many of these accidents involve a vehicle turning right on red in Virginia.
Far too often, I meet with people who have been struck by a vehicle turning right on red. Unfortunately, many drivers simply do not appreciate the danger they pose to pedestrians when turning right at a red traffic light.
When I first got my driver’s license at sixteen years old, my parents reminded me that driving is a privilege, not a right. Similarly, turning right on red is a privilege, not a right. In fact, turning right on red in Virginia may violate the rights of others.
Turning right on red in Virginia
Under Virginia Code Section 46.2-924, pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing “at any clearly marked crosswalk” or “any regular pedestrian crossing.” When it comes to drivers marking right-hand turns on red, the law goes even further stating that pedestrians crossing at intersections “shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the [roads] being crossed by the pedestrians." Unfortunately, many drivers do not follow these rules.
Remember, it is a privilege to turn right on red. A driver must examine the intersection and ensure that the exercise of the privilege to turn right on red will not violate the rights of a pedestrian.
However, many times drivers are only focused on whether the current vehicular traffic allows for a safe right turn on red. Drivers tend to overly focus their attention to the left, looking for other vehicles passing through the intersection, and never look to the right to check if any pedestrians are lawfully crossing the street.
A violation of this Virginia traffic law is negligence, and when that negligence results in injury to a pedestrian, the driver and his insurance company can be held liable.
Regrettably, insurance companies regularly will blame the pedestrian for these types of accidents in hopes of avoiding having to pay for the pedestrian’s medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we fight the insurance company at every step of the way and refuse to accept its failure to take responsibility.
Please contact us to talk to one of our Hampton Roads pedestrian accident attorneys about your rights as a pedestrian and how we get full compensation from the insurance companies.