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Red Lights: Too Many Drivers Continue on Through the Intersection

Person driving

According to data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2014 – the last year for which full data is available – 709 persons were killed, and more than 126,000 injured, in crashes that involved red light running on American streets and highways. Moreover, more than half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners.

Red Light Runners: Who Are They?

One Insurance Institute study of red light runners at one Arlington, Va., intersection found that:

  • As a group, they are more likely to be male than female
  • They were younger and less likely to use safety belts than drivers who stopped for red lights
  • They had poorer driving records than those who stop for red lights
  • Red light runners were more than three times as likely to have multiple speeding convictions on their driver records
  • Red light runners are much more likely to be alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash
  • Red light runners are less likely to have a valid driver’s license than those who obey traffic rules

How Often Do Drivers Ignore Red Lights?

In another study, the Insurance Institute studied five busy intersections in Fairfax, Virginia that did not utilize red light cameras. The Institute found:

  • On average, a motorist ran a red light every 20 minutes at each intersection
  • During peak travel times, red light running was even more frequent

Another study of data from 19 intersections without red light cameras in four states found a violation of 3.2 per hour per intersection.

Are Red Light Cameras Effective in Reducing Violations and Crashes?

The evidence suggests that red light cameras result in a significant reduction in violations. Some studies show that the number of red light runners decreased by as much as 40 percent. Another interesting point: Some studies show that not only do red light violations decrease at intersections with cameras, they also decrease at other nearby intersections.

A 2011 Insurance Institute study comparing large cities with red light cameras to those without found that the devices reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent, and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent.

What About the Risk of Rear-End Collisions?

Several Insurance Institute studies have reported that while red light cameras reduce front-into-side collisions and overall injury crashes, they can actually increase rear-end crashes. Experts note, however, that rear-end crashes tend to be much less severe than front-into-side crashes, so the net effect is positive.

Legal Representation Crucial in Intersection Accidents

Have you or a family member been involved in an intersection accident? If so, you may be entitled to recover your medical expenses, lost time from work, and additional sums for pain and suffering. You may still be entitled to some recovery, even if you or the family was partially to blame. Retaining an experienced, resourceful attorney is crucial to your success, however. The time to file a claim is limited, so you should not wait to seek legal counsel. E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy has the judgment and experience to represent you or your loved one. We can negotiate the best possible settlement. We also have the skill and tenacity required to take your case to trial, if necessary.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the capital district. We have been representing clients for more than 125 years. Call us now at (518) 663-6015 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law Firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays.

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