Red-Light Running Crashes and Deaths

Car Accident Lawyer

According to a newly released study, deaths as a result of drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high. From 2009 to 2017, the number of deaths due to red-light running increased by 31%, killing nearly 1,000 people in 2017 alone.

AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson, told NPR in a statement that “Drivers distracted on their phones, pedestrians distracted when crossing intersections, are all reasonable contributing causes to what we see the data telling us, but it’s not the only cause.” Other contributing factors may include the fact that since 2008 more people are driving longer distances, which results in an increase of crashes as a whole.

In 2012, 533 red light camera programs were instituted in cities across the country, however by July of 2019 that number decreased to 421 programs. According to the Insurance Institute, reasons for ending the programs included a reduction in camera citations, financial issues, and community opposition. 

Surveys of the public opinion show that people consistently support led light camera programs, however when those programs are poorly run or are thought to be implemented to generate revenue for cities, rather than to prevent crashes from occurring, that public support declines drastically.

AAA suggests city officials install red light cameras in areas with a high occurrence of crashes, with law enforcement officials directly supervising the cameras. AAA also recommends that in order to avoid red light running and crashes, drivers and pedestrians should:

• Monitor green lights that have been green for a long period of time as you approach the intersection, as they are more likely to turn yellow as you reach the intersection

• Wait three seconds after the light turns green before crossing an intersection

• Pedestrians and cyclists should try to make eye contact with drivers before they cross

Research in 2016 by the Insurance Institute found that ending camera programs increased fatal crash rates. The study compared crash rates in 14 cities that stopped camera programs from 2010-2014, with those in 29 regionally matched cities that continued their programs. The fatal crash rate was 30 percent higher in cities that turned off cameras, than it was if the cameras remained on. The analysis found that the rate of all fatal crashes at signalized intersections was 16 percent higher. 

An experienced car accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ should be consulted when serious injuries result from a driver running a red light. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into personal injury claims and car accidents involving running a red light.