Phil Gordon Can't Quit Running Red Lights
Phil Gordon blowing through a red light on a turn back in 2008.
Phil Gordon keeps making the same mistake.
The former Phoenix mayor knows that to make a legal, right-hand turn on a red light in Arizona, a driver must first come to complete stop. But he can't seem to make himself do it -- even after getting busted four times for the offense in the past five years.
While still mayor, Gordon drew attention from the press in 2008 when a red-light camera snapped him making a rolling turn at 7th Street and Northern Avenue. He left office at the end of 2011, just after landing a job helping lead the CSS Institute of Advanced Health.
He received a second such ticket in December, 2012 but it was dismissed. Another ticket on May 20 resulted in acquittal. Finally, he was convicted in late July for doing the same thing.
All of the tickets were 'cause of rolling right-hand turns on a red light, Gordon admits, and all of them were at the same intersection. (We're still waiting to hear back from Phoenix Municipal Court for verification, but we'll take Gordon at his word that he has the facts right.)
"I'm a bad driver," Gordon says. "Everyone knows that, and I acknowledge it."
Gordon got the 2008 and 2012 tickets dismissed after going to defensive-driving school. Sounds like he got lucky on the acquittal: While he and the prosecution were reviewing the video of the May violation, Gordon says, a city official noticed that a sign warning of the red-light camera had been plastered over with stickers by a vandal. Gordon says he didn't argue the point, and the city dropped the case on its own.
With no more lifelines, Gordon was forced to plead guilty to the July violation, pay a fine, and take eight hours of traffic survival school, a more-remedial and less fun version of defensive-driving school.
It'll probably only take a few more times before he figures it out.