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Right-Turn-on-Red in Quebec

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: The following resolution was adopted unanimously on July 21,2002, at the 2002 Convention of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), which was held in Toronto.

AER Resolution 2002 - 15

WHEREAS in the 1970's, Right-Turn-on-Red laws (RTOR) were passed in all 50 states of the U .S., the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and in all Canadian provinces except the province of Quebec; and

WHEREAS before RTOR, pedestrians with visual impairments could recognize that the vehicular signal on the street beside them had turned to green the instant they heard any car surging forward from that street, but with RTOR they must wait to verify that at least one vehicle is going straight or left before knowing that the vehicular signal is green; and

WHEREAS this delay in determining the status of the traffic signal prevents pedestrians with visual impairments from beginning their crossing promptly, so that they often must begin their crossing when there is not sufficient time to reach the other side and when the traffic on the parallel street has gained momentum and is moving quickly, making it difficult to avoid turning cars and gain clear access to the crosswalk; and

WHEREAS drivers who plan to turn right on red often position their cars in the crosswalk where they can see oncoming traffic, blocking the crosswalk and causing pedestrians to move around them, which can make it difficult for pedestrians with visual impairments to maintain their line of travel, increasing the likelihood that they will veer into the path of traffic in the intersection; and

WHEREAS according to a 1995 Report to the U.S. Congress by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a number of pedestrians and bicyclists are injured each year by drivers while turning right on red; and

WHEREAS drivers who turn right on red are usually looking to their left for oncoming traffic while turning right, and thus may not see pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the lane from which they are turning, especially children and people in wheelchairs, and

WHEREAS pedestrians with visual impairments who are legally in crosswalks may be unable to detect vehicles approaching to make right turns on red, and may thus be unable to take avoidance action that drivers expect pedestrians to take; and

WHEREAS the Province of Quebec, the only remaining province within Canada which does not allow RTOR is considering initiating RTOR policy; Therefore be it resolved that on this 21st day of July, 2002, in the city of Toronto, Ontario, that the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) urges the province of Quebec to reject right-turn-on-red policy for its drivers, thereby helping to ensure the safety and accessibility of its intersections for pedestrians with visual impairments."