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AAA Study Finds Running Red Light Deaths at 10-Year High

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released a report about fatalities due to drivers running red lights. More than two people a day are killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in which the driver went through a red light. The report used data from 2017, the most recent crash information available. The data shows that 939 people died as a result of a traffic accident in which a driver went through a red light. This is a 10-year high, with an increase of 28% since 2012.

About 28% of traffic fatalities at intersections are caused by a driver running a red light. Almost half of those killed were drivers or passengers in the vehicles that were hit by a reckless driver. While traffic lights are in place to make driving safer, the data proves that people continue to disobey traffic signals at an alarming rate.

About Red Light Traffic Safety

The AAA data indicates that although most drivers agree that running a red light is dangerous, about a third of those interviewed admitted to going through a red light within the last 30 days. Furthermore, those surveyed indicated they could have made a safe stop at the light. Most people believe the police will not stop them for going through a red light. The police cannot be located at every intersection and red light cameras are only placed in a small number of locations. Wisconsin law does not allow red light cameras currently. Some cities, such as Milwaukee, are trying to get the law changed to allow red light cameras in the city.

There is currently a debate as to whether red light cameras help prevent intersection accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when red light cameras are properly implemented, they can improve driver safety. Local governments need to follow best practice guidelines when they install red light cameras. They need to include cameras as part of a comprehensive traffic safety strategy that should also include engineering and education. They should install cameras only in places where there is a pattern of violations or accidents.

Preventing Red Light Accidents

Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. Drivers need to make sure they stay focused on driving and do not allow distractions. It is likely that distracted driving may be partly to blame for the increase in red-light accidents. Always be aware of other drivers on the road. When you approach a traffic light, be prepared to stop. Do not speed through an intersection and always look for pedestrians and bicyclists who may be trying to cross the street. Tap your brakes as you approach a red light to signal drivers behind you to prepare to stop. If a light has been green for some time as you approach, chances are it will turn yellow and red soon. Rather than trying to beat the light, proceed cautiously.

If you or someone you love was injured in an intersection accident, you may be owed money for your damages. Contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. for a consultation to discuss the details of your case.

Published October 4, 2019
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