Go ahead, make a right turn on that red arrow

I am confused by the traffic light at North Phoenix and Fern Valley roads. Because the right turn from North Phoenix onto Fern Valley is controlled by only an arrow (red or green), does this mean the driver must sit and wait to make the right turn only when the arrow is green?

— Barb Brown, Phoenix

No, Barb, you can make the right turn on the red arrow. ORS 811.360 allows for turns at stoplights and states it doesn't matter whether the stoplight is a circular red signal or a red-arrow signal.

This means you can make a right turn on red onto a two-way street, and make a right or left turn onto a one-way street in the direction of traffic.

In order to make the turns described above, you must stop at the light as required; exercise care to avoid an accident; obey the directions of a traffic-control device (sign) or a police officer that prohibits the turn; yield the right of way to traffic lawfully within the intersection; stop for pedestrians while making the turn.

Is it legal to use your horn for non-emergency issues such as getting someone's attention only to wave at them? I see this happen a lot, and it always distracts me when someone honks their horn — only to find out they are just trying to get the attention of someone so they can wave at them or yell "hello." I think it is illegal to do this as the horn is not meant for this action, but just want to confirm.

— Matt Herrin, Medford

You are correct Matt, they are illegally using their horns. ORS 815.230 says a motor vehicle must be equipped with a horn in good working order, capable of emitting sounds audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no vehicle shall be equipped with any bell, siren, compression or exhaust whistle.

ORS 815.225 defines the violation as using a horn otherwise than as a reasonable warning or making any unnecessary or unreasonably loud or harsh sound by means of a horn or other warning device. Violation of use limits on sound equipment is a Class C traffic violation. The fine is $145.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.

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