Today Safer Streets L.A. released our most recent report entitled “How Dangerous is a Rolling Right Turn?” According to statistics provided by the LAPD, the City of L.A. issues over 59,000 photo red light citations per year, 75 percent of which go to drivers making rolling right turns. At some intersection approaches the percentage of rolling right turn violations is as high as 97%. While the rolling right turn is technically a violation of our traffic laws, the risk from this behavior is miniscule, even to pedestrians.
Our analysis of Los Angeles crash statistics determined how much risk this behavior poses to other motorists and pedestrians. We found that the average number of rolling-right-turn collisions each year was approximately 45 out of approximately 56,000 collisions annually in the City of L.A. This represents just 0.079% of all accidents, or 1 in 127,000; less than the odds of getting struck by lightning. Additionally, the majority of collisions were classified as resulting in minimal or no injuries, even when pedestrians or bicyclists were involved. In fact, there were no fatalities noted due to RRTs for any of the 8 years studied. We also estimated that the chance that a rolling-right-turn will result in a collision is 0.00029% based on an approximately 15,540,519 rolling-right-turns occurring annually in the City of Los Angeles. Statistically, this means that a driver would have to make 345,345 rolling right turns before they might be involved in a collision. In actuality though, a careful driver who yields appropriately prior to making a right turn on red, whether or not they come to a complete stop, may never be involved in a collision due to this behavior.
The millions of taxpayer dollars the City of Los Angeles spends annually on the PRL program could be put to better use than giving thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens tickets of $466 each for a technical violation that rarely results in any type of accident.
Do you think this is a legitimate use of city and law enforcement resources.
(See our full report, “How Dangerous is a Rolling Right Turn?”)