What you need to know about Ohio's new red light law

Posted at 9:50 AM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 11:54:32-05

A new state law says drivers can go through red lights under certain situations, but police are cautioning motorists.

The new state law, according to WHIO-TV, allows drivers to go through red lights if the light isn’t working properly and only if the intersection is clear of oncoming traffic.

Police said drivers still need to stop and they can’t just drive through a red light because they are in a hurry.

“This is about safety,” Kettering police officer John Jung told WHIO. “We don’t want the driver to approach a red light, wait for a couple of seconds and determine that it is malfunctioning and then blow through a red light. You still have to proceed with caution.”

Jung added that city traffic laws are not always the same as state laws, so drivers need to make sure the law applies to where they live.

If a driver does go through a red light, they have the burden to prove it was malfunctioning.

“If they cause a traffic accident and it turns out the light was working properly, they will be the at-fault driver,” Jung said.

Driving instructors said the new law has caused some confusion, with instructors needing to tell new drivers this isn’t a free pass to run every light.

“This isn’t going to be an every day occurrence,” D&D Driving School Training Manager Brent Praeter toldWHIO. “This isn’t something they need to do commonly at intersections when the light is red and feel like they have been sitting for too long.”

If a motorist does come across a light that isn’t working, they should call police.