Motorists Are Running Red Lights and People Are Dying Because of It

Published on August 30th, 2019

red traffic light car accident thurswell lawWe are all impatient drivers from time to time. You have somewhere to be, you’re tired of following a slow driver, you just can’t get stuck at one more red light. Zooming through an intersection to get to where you’re going, however, puts you in danger of causing a car accident, and threatens the lives of the motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists around you.

The Stats Behind Deaths Caused by Ignoring Red Lights

AAA conducted a study of government crash data and found that in 2017, 939 people were killed by vehicles running red lights. This number is the highest death toll since 2008 and 28 percent higher than in 2012. Every day, according to AAA, two people are killed in the United States by motorists who don’t stop for red traffic lights.

The rates for deaths associated with running red lights has increased at a much higher rate than the overall rate of roadway deaths in the U.S. Since 2012, the total number of highway fatalities rose 10 percent, a significantly lower percentage than the deaths caused by drivers blowing through red lights.

Driving Behaviors Contribute to Running Red Lights

While it’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what’s led to this increase in traffic deaths, some AAA researchers put some of the blame on traffic lights that weren’t timed optimally and have a yellow caution cycle that’s too short. It’s easy to trust that other drivers will follow traffic signals as they’re supposed to, but that simply isn’t the case. Even if your light or arrow turns green, pausing to make sure the intersection is clear before you go is simply smart driving.

Distracted driving very likely played a role in these alarming statistics, too. Motorists and pedestrians alike are spending more time with their head down looking at their phone than on paying attention to the task at hand – which is to safely get to their destination.

It’s always important to drive with caution, and to drive defensively. Always anticipate the worst so you train yourself to look out for it and be attuned to poor driving behavior of fellow motorists. AAA recommends the following safety tips:

  • Prepare to stop as you enter an intersection.
  • Tap your brakes while approaching a light to warn other drivers of a possible stop.
  • Wait a second after a light changes to green before proceeding.
  • Check to make sure crossing traffic has stopped.

The Dangers of Being a Pedestrian in an Intersection

Motorists aren’t the only ones who need to look out for other motorists. Pedestrians and cyclists are at a major risk of drivers running red lights. When a Don’t Walk signal turns to a Walk signal, pedestrians should feel safe to cross the street or an intersection – they do have the right of way. But speeding cars won’t always see them, or be able to stop in time before they crash into them.

Bicyclists are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as motorists, so it’s possible they can also be guilty of running red lights, disturbing traffic patterns, and causing accidents themselves. They, just like pedestrians though, face risks from reckless drivers who are only interested in beating the light, not in being aware of who is around them.

If you have been in a car accident because of a reckless or distracted driver, contact the Michigan auto accident lawyers at Thurswell Law to discuss your case and get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees until we win.

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