Who makes a left turn on red?

Useless sign near PATH station in Hoboken, NJ

Down at the intersection of Hudson Place and River Street by the PATH Station there’s a sign for eastbound traffic that reads: “No Turn on Red.”

What I don’t understand is why this is even necessary. Usually, a right turn on red is allowed in most cases (unless specified). I’ve never heard of a left turn on red anywhere. Are today’s drivers so idiotic that they would even attempt this if there was no specific signage instructing them not to?

Probably just another way to pad the sign manufacturers contract or something. What next, signs like “running over pedestrians is prohibited?”

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31 Comments on "Who makes a left turn on red?"


Member
2 years 8 months ago

Maybe that was messy, I’m make it shorter:

Here’s the statute excerpt on making left and right turns:

39:4-115. The driver of a vehicle or the motorman of a streetcar: a. intending to turn to the right or left at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic or police officer, shall proceed to make either turn with proper care to avoid accidents and, except as provided in b. below, only upon the “go” signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, an official sign

I interpreted that to give authority for officials to place an [official sign] at a red light that allows left or right turns on red. When the specific is absent and the context is left and right turns, the general applies. Left turns on red in NJ are possible given an official sign that reads left turn permitted after full stop.

Member
xxrjxx
2 years 8 months ago

I have to say that I admire the simplicity of the statement “I’m a lawyer, so let me settle this.” As if lawyers have the market cornered on an ability to read and interpret statutes and others are precluded from doing so. I’ve worked with many lawyers in my time, and found most of them to be really quite…how do I put this…stupid.[quote comment=”218600″]Maybe that was messy, I’m make it shorter:Here’s the statute excerpt on making left and right turns:39:4-115. The driver of a vehicle or the motorman of a streetcar: a. intending to turn to the right or left at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic or police officer, shall proceed to make either turn with proper care to avoid accidents and, except as provided in b. below, only upon the “go” signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, an official signI interpreted that to give authority for officials to place an [official sign] at a red light that allows left or right turns on red. When the specific is absent and the context is left and right turns, the general applies. Left turns on red in NJ are possible given an official sign that reads left turn permitted after full stop.[/quote]

Member
2 years 8 months ago

How do you know if someone is a lawyer?

They’ll tell you.[quote comment=”218607″]I have to say that I admire the simplicity of the statement “I’m a lawyer, so let me settle this.” As if lawyers have the market cornered on an ability to read and interpret statutes and others are precluded from doing so. I’ve worked with many lawyers in my time, and found most of them to be really quite…how do I put this…stupid.[/quote]

Member
2 years 8 months ago

Craig, are you saying that the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission-approved driver’s education website is lying?

“You may make a left turn on a red light only from a one-way street into another one-way street, unless otherwise posted.”

http://www.newjerseystatedriver.com/topics/index.php?tid=66

Member
Craig-D
2 years 8 months ago

@homeworld – just because that site says it’s “NJ MVC approved” doesn’t mean it’s true – nor does it mean that the MVC actually reviewed the site’s contents. You’ll notice that that site has several footnotes citing statutes backing up its various statements on proper driving procedure. Perhaps you’ll also notice that there is curiously no footnote for that particular sentence you copied. That’s because they couldn’t cite to anything backing up that particular statement – there is no law allowing a left on red in NJ. The law in NJ is:

“The driver of a vehicle or the motorman
of a streetcar a. intending to turn to the right or left
at an intersection where traffic is controlled by
traffic control signals or by a traffic or police officer,
shall proceed to make either turn with proper care to
avoid accidents and, except as provided in b. below
only upon the “Go” signal unless otherwise directed
by a traffic or police officer, an official sign or
special signal; or b. intending to turn right at an
intersection where traffic is controlled by a traffic
control signal shall, unless an official sign of the
State, municipality, or county authority having
jurisdiction over the intersection prohibits the same”
– NJSA 39:4-115

In layman’s terms: no turns at taffic signals without a green light unless a traffic officer, sign, or special signal tells you otherwise. The lone exception (provided in item “b” above), is right turns. Those can be made on red. No exception is made for left turns of any kind without a “go” signal. Hence they are illegal.[quote comment=”218579″]Craig, are you saying that the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission-approved driver’s education website is lying?“You may make a left turn on a red light only from a one-way street into another one-way street, unless otherwise posted.”[/quote]

Member
2 years 8 months ago

Craig, my response was to your assertion that the NJ law is silent re: left turns on red. My contention is that if the law is silent, a person cannot violated a law that does not exist. That’s fairly clear. Unless I’m wrong, N.J.S.A. 39:4-115 speaks directly to left and right turns on red, by stating “only upon the “go” signal”. Since the wording is shall + only, it restricts turns on lights to green only, unless an exception exists; signs, traffic cop, etc.

Maybe I’m missing the part where you say it’s silent. It looks clear to me.

Member
Craig-D
2 years 8 months ago

@MidnightRacer – Read it again. The statute states the you can only turn on a “go” signal. A “go” signal is a green light. It then states the one specific exception of that rule is right turns (unless otherwise posted). There is no exception for left turns. Without a specific exception for left turns, the turn only on a “go” signal law still applies to left turns. So the law is not realy silent. It’s telling you can’t make any turns on red – except if it’s a right turn in an intersection without a sign saying no right turns.

But don’t take my word for it. Feel free to not accept my interpretation and try a left on red in front of a cop. Tell us what happens.[quote comment=”218573″]Craig, my response was to your assertion that the NJ law is silent re: left turns on red. My contention is that if the law is silent, a person cannot violated a law that does not exist. That’s fairly clear. Unless I’m wrong, N.J.S.A. 39:4-115 speaks directly to left and right turns on red, by stating “only upon the “go” signal”. Since the wording is shall + only, it restricts turns on lights to green only, unless an exception exists; signs, traffic cop, etc.Maybe I’m missing the part where you say it’s silent. It looks clear to me.[/quote]

Member
2 years 8 months ago

It doesn’t read as one exception, but actually two. You’re looking only at b. as an exception and missing the first. It would seem that in b. exception, it allows rights on red in general but gives authority to remove right turns on red permission given the local authority’s decision. So it would seem the statute allow for left and right turns on red if a sign permits it for left, or a sign does not permit it on right. That’s how I read it anyway.

Part a. (first line in statute) deals with left and right turns at traffic lights and includes the exception for left and right turns. The driver can turn left or right on the green light only, unless an official sign (or police officer) permits a left or right after full stop.

Part b. (the 2nd exception) deals with right turns only. It seems to say that a driver cannot turn right on red if an official sign or police officer directs no right turn is permitted.

To make it more simple to see, I’ll snip the clauses (indicated by symbol […]) for a more direct view.

39:4-115. The driver […] intending to turn to the right or left at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals […], shall proceed to make either turn […] only upon the “go” signal unless otherwise directed by […] an official sign

b. intending to turn right at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a traffic control signal shall, unless an official sign […] prohibits the same, proceed to make the turn upon a “stop”[quote comment=”218595″]@MidnightRacer – Read it again. The statute states the you can only turn on a “go” signal. A “go” signal is a green light. It then states the one specific exception of that rule is right turns (unless otherwise posted). There is no exception for left turns. Without a specific exception for left turns, the turn only on a “go” signal law still applies to left turns. So the law is not realy silent. It’s telling you can’t make any turns on red – except if it’s a right turn in an intersection without a sign saying no right turns.But don’t take my word for it. Feel free to not accept my interpretation and try a left on red in front of a cop. Tell us what happens.[/quote]

Member
2 years 8 months ago

“You may make a left turn on a red light only from a one-way street into another one-way street, unless otherwise posted.”

http://www.newjerseystatedriver.com/topics/index.php?tid=66

Member
mooshu
2 years 11 months ago

Hee hee. HobKM and westcoastbound: a friendship made in heaven!