An intersection in Gangseo-gu, Seoul.

A situation in which the pedestrian traffic light changed from red to blue.

As soon as pedestrians stepped into the crosswalk, a car turned right and crossed the crosswalk at high speed.

Pedestrians who tried to cross the crosswalk only seeing the blue traffic light turned back, startled.

The child's mother quickly grabbed her child's shoulder and pulled her back behind her.

It's been a while since the light turned blue, but the footsteps of pedestrians are still uneasy.

A car trying to turn right slipped its head into the crosswalk and swerved past the pedestrian.

It is not easy to cross the crosswalk comfortably even at a blue traffic light for pedestrians. 



Enlarging an image

▲ This is a common sight at intersections. 


There is a lot of interest in how to turn right at intersections and crosswalks.

According to the amendment to the Road Traffic Act, which will be applied from July 12, the duty to 'temporarily stop' for right turns at crosswalks will be strengthened.

Watch the short video below.

What would you as a driver do in this case?

The traffic light of the vehicle ahead is red.

The pedestrian signal is blue, but there are no pedestrians.

If you are confused, please see the explanation of the changed contents below. 



Enlarging an image

▶ Is the pedestrian signal a blue light?

Is it a green light? 

A traffic light is green (it looks like turquoise if you look closely), but many people wonder why it is called a blue light.

So, is it a red light - a green light?

Red light - blue light right?


The answer of the National Institute of the Korean Language is as follows.

“‘Blue’, a native Korean word, is used to mean ‘bright and clear blue like a clear autumn sky, deep sea, or sprout.’ Therefore, it is not wrong to say that the green light of a traffic light is called 'blue light.' Please note that 'blue light' is listed in the standard Korean dictionary as a word to refer to one of the traffic signals. It is also not wrong to write ‘green light’ on the page.”

Pedestrian's life-threatening crosswalk 'turn right' 

In Korea, right turns are allowed even when the crosswalk signal is blue for smooth traffic.

As an 'unprotected right turn' is applied without a separate traffic signal, such as going straight or turning left, the passage is actually at the driver's discretion.

Of course, Article 25 of the current Road Traffic Act states that when a driver turns right at an intersection, 'beware of pedestrians'.

Article 27 stipulates that when pedestrians cross a crosswalk, the vehicle must be temporarily stopped so as not to obstruct or endanger the crossing.

Violation of this will result in a fine.

However, strict application of the law was not implemented because the interpretation of 'passenger caution' or 'acts that cause obstruction or danger' specified in the law may be different.

As a result of this situation, there are still many cases where pedestrians are crossing the street and making a threatening right turn.


Enlarging an image

Enlarging an image


Over the past three years since 2018, 212 pedestrians have lost their lives after being hit by a right-turning vehicle.

In the past five years, one in three traffic accident fatalities in Korea is a pedestrian.

As a result of analysis by the National Police Agency and the Road Traffic Authority in May, of the 17,312 traffic fatalities in Korea between 2017 and 2021, 6,575 were pedestrian deaths.

In terms of percentage, it is 38%, which is twice the average of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries of 19.3% (as of 2019). 



As of 2020, there were 1,093 pedestrian deaths in domestic traffic accidents.

According to the Road Traffic Authority, 52.5% (574 people) of pedestrian deaths last year died at crosswalks.

This is why it is pointed out that it is urgent to revise the ambiguous traffic regulations for vehicles turning right at crosswalks in order to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths. 

Enlarging an image

The Korea Transportation Safety Authority investigated six intersections in downtown Seoul for two days from May 11 last year.

It was found that 53.8% (443 vehicles) of 823 vehicles turning right when there was a pedestrian at the crosswalk did not stop the vehicle.

Of the vehicles surveyed, 26.9% (221 vehicles) yielded to pedestrians but continued to approach the crosswalk without stopping.

Totally stopped cars accounted for only 19.3% (159 units) of the total.

Still, of the 159 vehicles that stopped when there was a pedestrian at the crosswalk, 28.3% stopped at the crosswalk.

From a pedestrian's point of view, a vehicle that comes to a late stop at a crosswalk is inevitably a threat.  


Enlarging an image

 [Changes like this] When the vehicle signal is 'blue'

At intersections, pedestrians have priority, not vehicles.

Nevertheless, as drivers ignored this and accidents continued, the police promulgated an amendment to the Road Traffic Act that 'strengthened the duty to protect pedestrians'.

The standard for pedestrians passing the crosswalk is expanded, and the right-turning method changes when passing an intersection.

Let's look at it case by case.


Enlarging an image

The vehicle signal is blue.

A red light is the signal for pedestrians at the crosswalk when you turn right.

In this case, you should turn right while driving slowly. 



Enlarging an image

This is a case where the vehicle signal is blue, but the pedestrian signal at the crosswalk you met after turning right is blue and there are no pedestrians.

You can also turn right slowly. 




Enlarging an image

Now, there are pedestrians.

In that case, after all pedestrians have crossed after 'pausing' unconditionally, the next right turn must be made.

The important point here is to stop even 'when a pedestrian is about to pass'.

In this case, if an accident occurs, it may be punished as a 'violation of the duty to protect pedestrians'.



According to Article 27 (Protection of Pedestrians) of the Road Traffic Act before the amendment, '

When a pedestrian is passing a crosswalk,

the driver shall temporarily stop in front of the crosswalk so as not to obstruct or pose a danger to the pedestrian' have.

However, in the revised Road Traffic Act,

the standard for pedestrians to be protected by drivers has been expanded as it has been changed to

'when a pedestrian is passing or intends to cross a crosswalk' .

If applied, it means that even if there are no pedestrians on the crosswalk, when a pedestrian on the sidewalk tries to cross the road, it is necessary to stop temporarily. 


 [Changes like this] When the vehicle signal is 'red' 

If the vehicle signal is red, it is simple.

Just stop immediately before a stop line, crosswalk, or intersection. 


Enlarging an image

If the traffic light of a vehicle is red and the pedestrian traffic light at the crosswalk in front is also red, make a right turn after stopping temporarily so as not to obstruct surrounding traffic. 


Enlarging an image

When the traffic signal is red and the crosswalk in front is green.

According to the guidelines of the National Police Agency, once you stop and there are no pedestrians passing or trying to pass, you can make a right turn by slowing down so as not to obstruct surrounding traffic.

If a pedestrian's feet cross the crosswalk at all, they must stop. 



But what about this case?

Watch the video below.

I made a right turn and there was no pedestrian accident.

However, according to the signal, it collided with a vehicle going straight ahead.

If so, the right-turning vehicle must be held responsible for 'signal violation'. 

Enlarging an image

                                                                        ▲ Source: Look at the Supreme Court precedent on YouTube's 'Han Moon-cheol TV' 



.

The traffic light at the intersection is red, the pedestrian crossing light is blue, and you turned right.

It is fortunate if there is no accident, but if an accident does occur, it is regarded as a 'signal violation'.

This means that even if the police do not catch you, if an accident occurs, you may be at fault.

The court ruled that violations of signals were the direct cause of traffic accidents, so even if the location of the accident was outside the crosswalk, the crime of negligence in the workplace due to 'signal violation' was established.

According to the guidelines of the National Police Agency, there will be no crackdowns, but if you are tried in another accident, there is a possibility that the outcome of the trial may be disadvantaged. 


[Supreme Court 2011. 7. 28., Sentenced, 2009 Do 8222, Judgment]


【Summary of Judgment] When


an intersection and a crosswalk are installed adjacent to each other and a vehicle signal is installed only at the intersection, the vehicle signal is It should be seen that it is to be considered not only to pass but also to the crosswalk just before the intersection, and the absence of vehicle traffic lights for the crosswalk because there are no vehicle auxiliary lights installed on the side of the pedestrian light of the crosswalk. none.

In the above case, the red light for vehicles at such an intersection shall be regarded as ordering the duty to stop in front of the intersection and crosswalk. However, when the pedestrian light of the crosswalk changes to red and loses its character as a crosswalk, the vehicle turning right may pass the crosswalk and turn right without interfering with the traffic of other vehicles proceeding according to the signal. .

Therefore, if the traffic light of a vehicle at an intersection is red and the pedestrian crossing light adjacent to the intersection is green, the driver of the vehicle does not stop in front of the above crosswalk and turns right while passing the crosswalk. It falls under the 'signal violation' of Article 3, Paragraph 1 and Clause 2 proviso No. 1, and in this case, as long as the above signal violation was the direct cause of the traffic accident, the above signal There is no hindrance to the establishment of a crime of occupational negligence due to the violation.


In order to improve the awareness of 'Pedestrians first', enforcement will be strengthened from July.

If you break the right-turning law, the driver will be fined 60,000 won and 10 demerit points.

This is different from the 'fines' imposed on vehicle owners with unmanned cameras.

A fine is imposed when caught by the police on the spot, and there are demerit points.

When a demerit point is received, the information is sent to the Insurance Development Institute, and it is specified in the car insurance policy so that insurance premiums can be raised if major traffic laws are violated or if a certain number of demerit points are exceeded.

If the duty to protect pedestrians at crosswalks is violated 2 or 3 times, the premium will be increased by 5%, and if it is 4 or more times, the premium will be increased by 10% or more.


Enlarging an image

Revision of the Road Traffic Act... The key is 'People first' 

Not only the 'right turn' at the center of the topic, but also the amendments to the Road Traffic Act that change from July include these.

Again, the main goal is 'protection of pedestrians'. 



First, the 'Pedestrian Priority Road' system will be introduced.

This applies to roads where the road and sidewalk are not separated, and pedestrian traffic has priority on this road.

Pedestrian priority roads allow pedestrians to cross the entire road.

Drivers have the duty to protect pedestrians, such as slowing down and stopping temporarily.

Failure to comply may result in a fine of not more than 200,000 won and a fine for negligence.



From July, drivers passing off-road will also be required to protect pedestrians.

Drivers passing 'places that do not fall under the road', such as apartment complexes, must also protect pedestrians.

If you do not fulfill your duty to protect pedestrians, such as slowing down or stopping temporarily, a fine of not more than 200,000 won and a fine for negligence may also be imposed.

Pedestrian protection in child protection areas will also be strengthened.



If it is a child protection zone, even at a crosswalk without a signal installed, the pedestrian must first stop regardless of whether or not pedestrians are passing.

In addition, the number of violations of traffic laws that can impose a fine for negligence is greatly expanded.

Thirteen items have been added that can impose fines on employers, etc., if proven by video recording media such as photos or videos.

The added items include failure to follow the direction change signal, violation of the direction change prohibition, violation of the prohibition of entering the safe zone, throwing objects out of the vehicle, violation of the U-turn/crossing/reverse prohibition, violation of safety driving obligations, not wearing a two-wheeled helmet, using a mobile phone while driving, etc. to be. 


Enlarging an image

Introduction of 'right turn traffic lights' at intersections with frequent accidents

Although strong crackdowns and premium premiums can raise drivers' awareness, there are limitations in terms of follow-up measures.

This means that fundamental measures are needed to prevent accidents.

Therefore, an alternative solution is the introduction of a 'right turn traffic light'.

As early as next year, 'right turn traffic lights' are expected to be introduced throughout the country.

Experts have said that installing a dedicated right-turn traffic light could significantly reduce confusion for drivers who only relied on pedestrian signals.

Under the current law, there was no clear legal basis for installing right-turn traffic lights.

Only some local governments made their own right-turn traffic lights. 


Enlarging an image

As the legal basis has been established, it is now possible to create right-turn traffic lights all over the country.

The amendment to the enforcement rules states that the head of a local government may install a three-color right-turning light in areas where three or more right-turn traffic accidents have occurred in one year, where there is a diagonal crosswalk, and where pedestrians and right-turning vehicles often mix. .

When a right turn traffic light is introduced, an unprotected right turn is impossible and can only be passed when the right arrow light is on.



Enlarging an image

Let's go back to the video.

Let's check the correct answer (?) according to the Road Traffic Act, which will be applied from July 12.

Vehicle signals are red and pedestrian signals are green.

If so, once you stop, you must make a right turn after checking whether a pedestrian is crossing the crosswalk or whether there is a pedestrian trying to cross. 



In fact, you may not need to read these complicated and lengthy explanations.

We are sometimes drivers, but we are always pedestrians.

Also, if we think that our parents and children are crossing the road, we can't turn the steering wheel right while pressing the accelerator pedal to go a little faster. 



(Composition: Reporter Seon-i Jang / Content design: Ji-su Ok) 

Keywords: