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Don’t make the mistake of applying the Dead Red law in Florida
Don’t make the mistake of applying the Dead Red law in Florida

Don’t make the mistake of applying the Dead Red law in Florida

On Behalf of | May 7, 2021 | Traffic Violations |

If you’re coming into Florida as a tourist riding your motorcycle, one law that you might be familiar with from home is the Dead Red law. A Dead Red law allows you to go through a red light if it isn’t changing after several rotations. This law applies in many states, such as:

  • Indiana
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia

As well as others.

Florida does not have this law, which is something you do need to be aware of. If you happen to get stuck at a light that isn’t changing, which could happen, you need to stay put or to opt for a legal turn.

What is a Dead Red law, and why doesn’t Florida have it?

Right now, Florida does not have a Dead Red law. This law applies to motorcyclists, people on mopeds and cyclists. The law allows them to proceed through a red light when the light has not been triggered by their presence. This isn’t a problem that all states have, because many states use light systems on a timed rotation, not a trigger system.

If a tourist knows about a law like this and tries to apply it in Florida, they can find themselves cited for violating the traffic laws. Even if a light is stuck on red, you need to find a safe way to continue on. If you’re in the right-hand lane, for example, you may be able to turn right on red. If the light isn’t turning and you cannot turn, call the police or other authorities when you’re stopped, so that they can come out to direct traffic until the light corrects itself or is repaired.

Unfortunately, ignorance of a law is not a good defense in most cases. However, your attorney may be able to help you defend against the citation, so you can avoid having it on your license. If a light is broken, or if the trigger system was not working, then it might have been reasonable to continue on safely. This is something to discuss with your attorney if you’re cited for running a red light that wasn’t working properly.


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