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Utah House Passes Bill That Would Allow Drivers to Run Red Lights

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 2/27/2019 Casey Leins
a red traffic light: Utah lawmakers are considering legislation that would permit drivers to run red lights under certain circumstances. © (Getty Images/EyeEm) Utah lawmakers are considering legislation that would permit drivers to run red lights under certain circumstances.

Utah drivers might soon be able to run red lights under certain conditions, thanks to a bill that passed through the state's House of Representatives on Monday.

The state Senate will now consider the legislation, which would allow drivers to pass through red lights on highways with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour or lower after coming to a complete stop for at least 90 seconds.

The bill adds that the driver must also reasonably determine that the stoplight has not detected their presence, that no other vehicles are approaching the intersection and that no other safety hazards are present.

Republican Utah Rep. Ken Ivory, who sponsored the bill, calls the the legislation a "common-sense solution" that would prevent people from getting stuck at traffic lights that aren't working properly.

He also clarified that the bill protects people who run a red light under these conditions, but does not directly legalize such an action.

The Utah Department of Transportation has voiced its opposition to the bill. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the department has argued that the measure is hazardous and that most malfunctioning signals on state highways are fixed quickly, since they are usually monitored by central operations.

While the bill passed with a 39-34 vote, the House shut down another traffic-related bill Monday that would ban the use of cellphones while driving. Under current state law, officers can ticket adult drivers for using a cellphone while driving, but only if they violate another traffic law (beside speeding) first.

Lawmakers are also expected to consider a bill filed by Sen. Dan Hemmert, a Republican, that would prohibit drivers from entering intersection unless they are able to make it through before the light changes.

In January, Utah began to enforce the nation's strictest drunk driving law, which set the blood-alcohol concentration limit to 0.05 percent.

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