The Oak Ridge Police Department will no longer hand out tickets to drivers who violate "no turn on red" laws based solely on the evidence they have from enforcement cameras.
The move comes after Governor Bill Haslam signed a law in June that forced Tennessee cities to erect "no turn on red" signs near traffic cameras enforcing the law.
According to Oak Ridge, there were only two intersections in town that would have been affected by the law. They include the intersection at North Illinois and Robertsville Road and the intersection at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette.
Police Chief Jim Akagi said in a statement, "Out of 269 redlight violation notices issued in June, 109 of those were for right turn on red violations. In looking at the cost/benefit of installing signage versus the number of violations at these intersections, we determined not to invest in signage at this time."
State Rep. Ryan Haynes, of Knoxville, co-sponsored the signage bill after the legislature received complaints from drivers claiming they had been wrongfully ticketed. He said while he was fine with Oak Ridge's action, it lies outside of legislators' intent.
"What the legislators wanted was cities to recognize that if there's so many people turning right on red, they should post up a sign that says 'no right turns on red,'" Haynes said.
Some Oak Ridge drivers, like Kathy Russell, are happy with the change. She said she once received a ticket.
"I think it's a good idea," Russell said. "The camera alone does not see the whole picture. In some cases you may be preventing an accident."
The state's signage law went into effect July 1. Oak Ridge said its officers will continue to stop drivers who they directly see violating right turn on red laws.