Drivers Weigh In on New Red Light Law

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STROUDSBURG  -- A new law will give drivers in Pennsylvania the green light to go through a red light under certain conditions.

Governor Tom Wolf signed it last week.

The new law will allow drivers to go through a red light, but only when the sensor looks broken. In other words, the light may be blinking or it may be staying red for longer than usual.

The new rule doesn't take effect until September but drivers in the Poconos are already having mixed feelings.

"I think it might work," said Joseph Michell of Cherry Valley. "I mean, there must be some reason that if it's brought the attention to make a law out of it, I mean, they may have a lot of faulty lights."

Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law last week that will allow drivers to go through a red light if the light sensor appears to be malfunctioning as in blinking or not turning green.

Joseph Michell tells us he's been stuck at his fair share of long traffic lights.

"Especially when it's dark and no one around, at the end of the night no one is coming down the street for you."

The new rule applies to all vehicles but was originally created to help motorcyclists.

According to Ty Shoemaker at Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson, the weight of a motorcycle can't always trip the light sensor. Those driving on two wheels often find themselves stuck.

"I've literally have had to get off my motorcycle, walk over and hit the street crossing sign for the light to change, so it's nice that we won't have to sneak through or break the law."

Some drivers we spoke to are on board with the new law but others think it could be too dangerous and potentially cause more accidents.

"I think it's utterly ridiculous and people are going to get killed."

Richard Hortsman from Brodheadsville believes there are some major issues with the law including no indication of how long a driver must wait before going through the red.

"Crazy! Why don't we just shut off all the lights and put stop signs on the corners? Then people can just stop and go whenever they want."

According to the governor's website, the new law won't take effect until September 18, so if you find yourself stuck at a broken red don't go through it just yet.


  • Luis Gerardo

    An easier and safer solution would be to program the lights to flash at hours when there’s little traffic, for example, from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. No need to change the law for that.

  • Howie

    The law should only apply to motorcycles. To the drivers of all other vehicles, try stopping behind the white line (that is where the inductive loop sensors are) and be patience.

  • Doug Kepner

    About time. I ride a motorcycle and frequently find myself at red lights that don’t sense my bike and change for me (especially left turn lights). If I sit there through an entire cycle of the light and it doesn’t give me a green arrow, I’ll go on the next safe opportunity regardless of what the light says – law or no law.

  • Beth Daubert

    They can pass silly vague laws like this but not address REAL issues like property tax reform. Unreal.


    Also, with respect to a couple of previous commenters, I definitely can relate to your concern sitting at a red light for a long time, especially at 1:00 am.
    Many years ago, I was a passenger in a vehicle, stopped (at a stop sign), waiting to make a left onto the highway. A man, who was standing several yards away in a grassy area at the side of the road, came over to our vehicle and he opened my door, and was trying to grab at me. At that time, the driver leaned over to hold my door closed, and he simultaneously put his foot on the gas and made a right onto the highway. And that happened in the middle of the day. SCARY!!!
    My point is, if your life is in danger, I’m sure Police will understand if you take Plan B.
    A driver should ALWAYS be aware of what, and who, is around them. I just wish people would drive more safely, stay off phones, and tablets, and whatever, and that would make a big difference. Also, keep doors locked while driving.


    People are impatient, and can’t be relied upon to follow traffic laws if it takes them longer to get to their destination. I always laugh at the jerk who flies down the highway, weaving in and out of cars to be FIRST, then he’s sitting right in front of me at the next exit red light. And I think, “wow, he really got far”.
    Right on red isn’t always safe for pedestrians, so I’m okay with that law. But I doubt it’ll be adhered to sufficiently, and I certainly won’t rely on it when I’m walking and crossing at, or near, an intersection.

  • Becky Flynn

    It should be a law that you can go thru a red light after securing the intersection, if an emergency vehicle is behind you with lights and sirens.

  • Jeff

    I have been stuck at my fair share of red lights, on my motorcycle, sitting in the turning lane waiting for the green arrow so that I can go. I sat through two light cycles and finally got pissed off and ran it.

    • Bill

      Haha, I know the feeling I work over off of poplar st and don’t get done till 1 am. The light at the exit ramp from 81 to 93 is a very long light also

  • Franko

    Some areas already have old laws on the books that give you the right away to go through a red ;light as long as you come to a complete stop and there is no other traffic approaching, like late at night —- Scranton, for example, as far as I know, still has that old law from something like 60+ years ago, that they never abolished…

  • Valfreyja

    People cannot even be trusted to obey yes/no go/stop styled traffic regulations…so now we confuse them with choices?

    What on Earth was ANYONE behind this legislation thinking?

    • Joske

      No. Common sense needs to apply here. It is completely asinine to sit at a broken red light for 10 minutes or more, but if you go through you get a fine. This law does not give motorists leeway to do whatever they want.

    • Manny Garcia

      Exactly. If people were “reasonable,” it might work, but how many people are take it upon themselves to decide that 5 seconds or 8 seconds or 10 seconds is too long?

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