Illegal left turns in Philadelphia

September 14, 2018

Over the past handful of months, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the city of Philadelphia: drivers making illegal left turns at intersections.

 

From what I've seen, it goes one of two ways.  While two-way traffic is stopped at a red light, a car will turn left at the very moment the light turns green.  Or even worse, I've seen a car turn left while their light is still red.

 

In both cases, the driver of the car turning left is wrong for turning without having the right-of-way.  Cars going straight have the right-of-way, meaning that a car turning left must wait until an opening between or after the cars going straight have passed.

 

The other major safety issue is that the cars illegally turning left often do so by accelerating at a high rate.  This reckless driving puts pedestrians and cyclists at risk.  It's simply a matter of time before a driver turns left so quickly (to beat oncoming traffic about to get a green light) that he or she hits a pedestrian who begins crossing the street with a green light.  Or even worse, that another driver speeding to beat a yellow-to-red light slams into the driver turning left before they even have a green light.

 

Finally, this illegal practice demonstrates the selfishness of the driver turning left.  To those drivers, I ask: what makes you think you're so important that you can make an illegal turn that puts others at risk?  I know you're not so stupid to not know that 'red means stop,' so why are you so selfish?

 

Mark my words, unless the Philadelphia Police begin enforcing these illegal left turns, sooner or later some innocent person(s) will die unnecessarily, due to something as petty as someone's selfishness.  If you know someone who makes these illegal left turns, strongly urge them to stop and drive responsibly.  Thank you.

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F. TIGHE BURNS, ESQ.

215.732.0101

230 S Broad St, Suite 1400
Philadelphia, PA 19102