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Traffic Management

Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration has been given by his Department to the introduction of traffic management schemes now operating in other countries, notably the United States of America, which in the United Kingdom would permit traffic to turn left against a red traffic light at all junctions.

We regard the North American practice as unacceptable for this country. In the United Kingdom a red light has always meant "stop" for all drivers, whether they propose to turn or go ahead, unless a green arrow signal points to a permitted direction of travel. To allow a left turn against a red signal would devalue the message and lessen road safety.The United Kingdom rule about the red light applies also on the Continent, and indeed the Vienna convention on traffic signs and signals, to which we conform, does not permit turns against red signals in the absence of positive arrows.