Red-light runners cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year. Daily, almost three people are killed on U.S. highways due to impatient and reckless drivers who run red lights. It’s an act that happens far too often at intersections. In 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that involved someone barreling through a red light.
Running red lights is the leading cause of intersection crashes in the United States. That’s more than drunk driving, and distracted driving. It’s a problem in rural and urban areas throughout the country. There are over three million intersections in the nation, in which 300,000 have traffic signals. The main issue with red-light running incidents is the severity of them. There are no fender benders when people run red lights. It usually ends with a major injury or fatality. Motorists who blow through lights are not going slow. They have just sped up to potentially make a yellow light, which makes the accidents more serious than they normally would be.
The IIHS, in which our research was gathered from, says that on metro roads the most common cause of fatalities is running red lights or stop signs. The danger of the problem is obvious, but people continue to do it. The only way for the accidents to stop are for people to pay attention fully and show courtesy to others. The world is in a hurry, but you shouldn’t be in a rush to run red lights.
You may think running red lights is a fairly simple law, but there are actually some complicated facts that make enforcing it challenging. Running a red light is defined as a vehicle entering an intersection any time after the signal has turned red. Drivers who are in intersections when the light turns red, are not considered red-light runners. For example, when a car is waiting to turn left and the light turns red, they are not breaking the law.
In some cases, drivers who are guilty of running red lights can be considered negligent drivers. Motorists who make a conscious choice to run red lights, when they had the option to stop safely, are considered to be driving recklessly. That puts other drivers on the road in grave danger. If you were in an accident that was caused by a red-light runner, call an accident attorney immediately. Large insurance companies will often do anything in their power to not pay out your claim, do not go through the battle alone.
At a majority of traffic lights throughout the nation, you are permitted to turn right on red lights. However, if you don’t make a complete stop behind the line, both cameras and law enforcement will consider you a red-light runner.
A study done by the IIHS about red lights produced some shocking conclusions. At five busy intersections in Virginia, they found that a motorist ran a red light every 20 minutes. They also found that 93% of drivers say that it’s unacceptable to go through red lights, yet 43% of those people said they had done so within the last month.
The most dangerous cities for fatalities from running red lights in the United States, between 2004 and 2013, are as follows:
- Houston, TX with 181 fatalities
- Phoenix, AZ with 127 fatalities
- Los Angeles, CA with 125 fatalities
Compared to other intersection crashes, red light running is the most common. This past year, red light running deaths hit a 10-year high. The problem is not going away, it is only getting worse. More than 132,000 people were injured in red-light incidents in 2017. The dangers are apparent, so we need to find a way to reduce them.
Ways to Prevent Accidents
Practicing safe driving is step number one, but there are many ways to prevent them from happening. It is up to each motorist to use good judgement when operating a vehicle. Of course, not all drivers adhere to that rule. Take responsibility and drive carefully, it could mean the difference of life and death.
– Longer Yellow Lights
If you’ve done a lot of driving, you have probably noticed that some yellow lights are significantly longer than others. Yet, some are so quick you barely have time to react. Using longer signal times for yellow lights has proven to be a great preventative for red-light crashes. The same IIHS study showed that when yellow signal times were longer, accident probabilities plummeted. The practice reduced red light violations in Philadelphia by 36%.
– Red Light Cameras
The most effective way of putting an end to red-light running is by introducing red light cameras to as many intersections as possible. While yellow light timing reduced red light infractions by 36%, implementation of red-light cameras reduced violations by more than 96% in the same area of Philadelphia.
Red-light cameras automatically photograph vehicles that go through red lights. The cameras are then connected to the traffic signal which relays photos back to law enforcement officials. The use of red-light cameras makes motorists think twice before running lights in order to avoid paying for tickets.
– Ease into Stops
The easiest way for red-light accidents to be reduced is by the people behind the wheel. Drivers should hold themselves to a standard and take responsibility. Easing into stops is an effortless way to avoid red lights. If you see a stale green light from far away begin to release your foot from the gas pedal.
When you see a yellow light, don’t jam on the gas, instead slowly ease into stops and take your time getting to the red light. The one minute you save sitting at the red-light will not kill you. Running the light though, might prove to be your demise.
– Don’t Rush
Everybody is always in a rush. Drivers from the rural backroads to the city streets want to get where they’re going as fast as possible. The idea of relaxing has been thrown out the window. People used to enjoy driving. They took pride in the vehicles they drove and how they were driven. The American people need to relax. On your way home from work today in the daily commute, try to take your time and listen to good music or podcasts. Let the honking and the madness stay outside your vehicle. This could prove to lessen accidents of all kinds.
Call Dennis Hernandez & Associates
If you are a victim of an auto accident and suffer a personal injury, do not go it alone; Dennis Hernandez Expert Car Crash Lawyer and his team of Tampa car accident lawyers will have your back every step of the way and fight for what you deserve. Remember, red-light runners can be considered negligent drivers. If you were in an auto accident because of someone blowing through a red light, you could be compensated for all of your economic losses.