Depending on where you live or commute for work, you might encounter a lot of traffic lights along your regular routes. While traffic lights certainly help the flow of traffic and keep people safe, drivers who ignore the rules of the road are putting you and everyone else in danger. Red light accidents often involve serious and even fatal injuries.
Drivers who run a red light cause a significant number of injuries and deaths every year. In 2018 alone, these negligent drivers killed 846 people. This is despite efforts to curb red light running, such as the red light cameras in Louisiana.
What is red light running?
A driver who enters the intersection while the light is still green or yellow, and is inadvertently still in the intersection when the light turns red, is not running the red light. A driver is only running the red light if he or she enters the intersection after the light has already turned red. The rules are a little different for making right turns on red lights. A driver is not running the light if he or she comes to a complete stop before turning, but he or she is running the light if he or she fails to stop.
Simply understanding what red light running is will not fix the problem, though. Some experts think that adjusting signal times so that yellow lights last longer could be a good solution. Multiple studies have found that this simple fix translates to fewer red light violations and total crashes.
Does age matter?
When researchers looked at fatal red light accidents from 2018, they found that the responsible drivers were most likely to be younger and male. The drivers also tended to have previous crashes or convictions for drunk driving violations. Most of the accidents also involved speeding or alcohol impairment.
However, it does not appear as if there is any one age of drivers that is worse when it comes to blowing through red lights. In a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 85% of participants said they believed speeding through a red light was extremely dangerous. Despite this, at least 31% said they had done exactly that in the last 30 days.
What about red light cameras?
Red light cameras can effectively reduce the number of red light violations and related accidents. These cameras are not a perfect solution, though. While areas with red light cameras do tend to experience a reduction in red light running, it is still not enough to fully eliminate the problem.
All it takes is a single second to completely alter the course of your life. Red light accidents can be traumatizing, both physically and emotionally. You may be suffering financially, too. While things might feel hopeless, you are not without options. Many victims in similar situations have successfully secured compensation by pursuing personal injury claims against negligent drivers.