Soon, you’ll be able to legally run a red light in Ohio (sort of)

Posted at 2:00 PM, Jan 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 14:00:48-05

(CNN) — A new state law that takes effect in March will let drivers in Ohio legally drive through a red light, but on one condition: Drivers, after first coming to a full stop at the light, must believe that the red light is malfunctioning before driving through it.

If that sounds like an invitation to roll up to every red light and keep on trucking, that’s not the intent. But many worry that’s exactly what will happen.

“I don’t know if it’s the wisest decision,” driving instructor Charlie Allen told CNN affiliate WBNS. “People are already in a hurry going nowhere anyway.”

Police aren’t happy about it either. They’ve seen more than their fair share of red light crashes, and they don’t want to see this new law create a bunch of new ones.

“This is about safety,” Kettering, Ohio, police officer John Jung told CNN affiliate WHIO. “We don’t want the driver to approach a red light, wait for a couple of seconds and determine that it is malfunctioning and then blow through a red light. You still have to proceed with caution.”

And the burden of proving the red light is malfunctioning lies with the driver.

“If they cause a traffic accident and it turns out the light was working properly, they will be the at-fault driver,” Jung said.