Red Light Running Dangers and Prevention
Since the first traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914, the red light has proved to be an effective tool for controlling traffic and preventing accidents. However, traffic signals are not infallible, especially when you factor in human behavior.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), red light running is a major cause of traffic-related injury and death. In fact, you are more likely to be injured in an accident related to red light running than any other type of traffic accident. Other findings by the FHWA include the fact that:
- Running a red light, or failing abide by a traffic control device of any kind, is the most common cause of all urban traffic accidents.
- Someone runs a red light at an urban intersection on average every 20 minutes.
- Red-light-related accidents have taken nearly 9,000 lives over the last decade.
- Approximately 165,000 drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians are injured each year by red light-running motorists.
- Half the people killed in these accidents are not the offending drivers—they are other motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
- One in three drivers report that they’ve run a red light in the past 30 days.
- An average of seven fatalities and over 1,000 injuries occur every day at signal-controlled intersection in the United States.
- The overall cost of theses accidents exceeds $230 billion annually.
Red Light Running Prevention
Perhaps the most troubling issue regarding red-light-running accidents is that they’re highly preventable. The following are some practices that will drastically reduce the risk of a driver running a red light:
- Avoid the Three Ds: Never drive while drowsy, distracted, or drunk. All three of these conditions will take your attention away from your surroundings and slow your reaction time. You may refuse to drive while intoxicated, but studies have shown that driving while sleepy or while looking at a cellphone can have same impact as driving while chemically impaired.
- Know Your State’s Yellow Light Laws: Rules about when you can enter an intersection when the light is yellow vary by state. In Arizona, you can legally enter an intersection during a yellow light, as long as the vehicle crosses the intersection or the limit line before the light changes to red.
- Keep Your Speed in Check: Speed has a major impact on a driver’s ability to react to a yellow light and come to a complete stop in time. Traffic engineers use the posted speed limit to determine how long a traffic light needs to stay yellow before turning red. If you travel faster than the posted speed limit, the yellow light will not give you adequate warning and allow you enough time to stop safely.
Stiff Penalties for Running Red Lights
Running a red light is not only dangerous to you, your passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclist—it can result in serious legal and financial consequences. While penalties change over time and may vary by county, a ticket for running a red light is approximately $250, and will add two negative points to your driver’s license. Even if there are no policemen in the area, you can still be given a citation for running a red light. Many municipalities in Arizona, including Phoenix, have installed red-light cameras to photograph the license plates of cars that run red lights.
The Husband and Wife Law Team at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., wants all Arizona residents and visitors to be safe on our state’s roadways. In the unfortunate event that you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a negligent driver, our firm can help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. For a free case evaluation, call (602) 267-1280 today.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer