Red-Light Running Crash Statistics

In a 2020 AAA study, over 86% of drivers surveyed agreed that running a red light was very dangerous. Yet, a third of these same drivers admitted to running a red light at least once in the past 30 days. Worse, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed every year because drivers fail to stop when the light turns red. So, why do so many of us run red lights, even though we recognize that it’s an aggressive driving behavior? Let’s look a bit deeper at red light running crash statistics.

Defining “Red-Light Running”

You are running a red light when you enter the intersection after the light has turned red.

For the purposes of our post today, this is the aggressive behavior we are talking about. We aren’t considering situations where you might find yourself in the middle of an intersection when the light turns red, such as waiting to make a left turn.

How Many Crashes Do Red Light Runners Cause?

It is estimated that red-light runners cause hundreds of thousands of crashes on American roads every year. In 2019, 143,000 people were seriously injured in crashes where a driver ran a red light. That same year, 849 were killed in these accidents. That is more than two people dying every day in preventable collisions.

About half of those killed were other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. In other words, innocent victims.

Red-light runners often cause side-impact collisions which can very seriously injure victims since the side of a vehicle offers little protection.

What are the Main Reasons People Run Red Lights?

There are many reasons why people run red lights – though none of them are excuses. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Speeding – unable to stop in time
  • Driving under the influence 
  • Impatience
  • Driver distraction
  • Driver inattention – “zoning out”
  • Poor visibility
  • Poor weather

While the reason might involve a simple lapse of judgment, often aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding are involved.

Do Red-Light Cameras Reduce Crashes?

The short answer: yes, they do.

Yes, a camera might be irritating to drivers when they are first installed. But much like a roundabout, once drivers adapt to their presence, the positives often outweigh the negatives. One study revealed that red light crashes in large cities were reduced by 21% after cameras were installed.

However, crashes can be further reduced when cities also increase the time that yellow lights are displayed. The combination of longer yellow lights and red-light cameras can have a substantial impact on reduction of red-light crashes.

How Can I Break the Bad Habit of Running Red Lights?

Perhaps you’re reading this today and realizing that you’ve developed a bad habit of running red lights. Can we encourage you to take immediate steps to stop before you hurt yourself or someone else? The consequences, which could also include traffic citations and criminal charges, are just not worth it.

Consider taking these steps to help:

  • Watch for “stale” green lights. If the light down the road has been green for some time, anticipate the likelihood that it will change by the time you approach. Let off the gas and prepare to slow or stop.
  • Tap your breaks as you approach an intersection. Alerting drivers behind you that you may be stopping can help prevent rear-end collisions, or the tendency to zip through the intersection when you should really stop.
  • Reduce distractions. Remember, when you’re behind the wheel, your focus needs to remain on driving safely. We all know that cell phone usage is a no-no, but are there other distractions that are impacting your driving?
  • Mind your speed. Speeding adds an unnecessary layer of risk to your driving. It takes longer to stop and it’s easier to lose control of your vehicle when you’re speeding. You’re also less likely to be able to respond to unexpected situations. Bottom line: don’t do it.

We hope that we’ve convinced you to make this positive change in your driving habits.

If You’ve Been Hit by a Red-Light Runner, Call Us for Help

Have you been seriously injured by a red-light runner? If so, it’s possible you’re facing high medical bills, missed time from work, and other negative life impacts. Please, call our team at Ladenburg Law. We can hear what happened to you and advise you of your legal options at no cost. There are advantages to working with a qualified car accident lawyer, so call us today.

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