Is it legal to turn right on red in Virginia?

Carelessness while driving is considered as a major traffic violation in Virginia due to its nature of causing potential harm. These careless driving acts of a driver can cause potential injuries to any human being, damage any public or private properly or it can even result in the death of an innocent victim.  Considering the aftereffects of driving, the legislators have constituted strict penalties against such acts.

Breaking the red light signal

According to the laws of Virginia the law enforcement authorities use automatic cameras within the state near the intersection to check for the violators of the red light. Generally, a person who is violating the red light sign has to pay for the camera ticket however in certain cases the person can file a defense case in the court against the ticket. This can only occur in conditions such as

  1. When you were not driving the car
  2. When your car was stolen

The fine for violating the red light camera is $50, however, the ticket will not be reflected on the person’s driving silence neither it will impact on the insurance rate.

What is Virginia’s “Right Turn on Red Law”?

According to the Virginia code section:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-833, except where a traffic control device is placed prohibiting turns on steady red, vehicular traffic facing a steady red circular signal, after coming to a full stop, may cautiously enter the intersection and make a right turn. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-833, except where a traffic control device is placed permitting turns on a steady red, vehicular traffic facing a steady red arrow, after coming to a full stop, shall remain standing until a signal to proceed is shown. Such turning traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.”

In Virginia, turning right during the red light is legal from the rightmost lane unless there is a sign prohibiting the right turn. However, the law does ask the driver to take a pause of at least 3 seconds to check for the upcoming traffic and pedestrians. Often the drivers are pulled over by the law enforcement authorities and handed over a ticket for turning right while the red light is on. However, the ticket is actually given for not stopping enough at the red before turning right.

According to Thomas Didone, a Police Captain of Montgomery, “What happens frequently is that people don’t stop, they don’t come close to stopping. Maybe in their mind, they perceive they stopped, but the video doesn’t lie.”

Is it really important to stop at the red light before turning right?

Due to the increasing number of tickets due to the confusion in turn right on red light condition, many people are skeptical about the ticket and they are arguing about how this could compromise the safety on road. As the people claim that slowly turning right on red light has no or very little potential of causing accidents however according to a study conducted during the year 1982 to 1992, 84 crashes occurred during the right turn on the red light which was only 0.2 percent of the total incidents.