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Pennsylvania’s New Red Light Law Goes into Effect

HARRISBURG — A new law allowing drivers to go through a red light–under certain conditions–went into effect in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Governo...

HARRISBURG -- A new law allowing drivers to go through a red light--under certain conditions--went into effect in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law in July. It took effect September 18.

The new rule allows drivers to go through a red light when the sensor appears to be malfunctioning--such as if it is blinking or if the light’s sensor appears not to be working, keeping the light from turning green.

The law was originally intended to help motorcyclists, but it was expanded to apply to all vehicles.

Some traffic lights use sensors that are under the pavement so when a car comes up, it triggers the sensor. The problem is motorcycles sometimes don't trigger it, so that light never turns green.

"You'll sit at these lights and wait and wait and wait and nothing happens," said Ken Gaudio of Waymart. "You're sitting there for two minutes, three minutes and it's not changing so you know something is wrong. That the sensor in the road is not picking up the weight of the bike."

The bill does not specify how long a driver must wait at a red light before proceeding through it.

"If the vehicle detection system fails to recognize the vehicle and the driver has come to a complete stop, the driver must then make sure it is safe to continue, and only then would they be able to lawfully proceed with caution through the intersection," State Rep. Stephen Bloom, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

Many drivers we spoke with are nervous the law could be easily abused.

"It's a judgment call, and if there's other cars there, I think I'd be chicken to go on through," said Clyde Bunting of Waymart.

"I don't think it's a good thing," added Scott Hall of Archbald. "I think a lot of accidents are going to be caused by it. That's the reason why it's a red light!"