Deaths Due Related to Drivers Running Red Lights Hit a Ten-Year High
Red light accidents can cause some of the most serious injuries of all motor vehicle accidents. Too many victims are killed in red light accidents, and many others are left with permanent injuries. You have the legal right to be fairly compensated for all the losses you sustain as a result of a red light runner’s negligent driving. Victims should consult with an experienced West Covina personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a red light accident in order to protect their legal rights. Call (844) 335-3271 to schedule your free consultation. At Deldar Legal, our skilled West Covina personal injury lawyers know how to handle red light cases and have helped many West Covina car crash injury victims protect their legal rights. Let our West Covina personal injury attorneys handle the claims process and insurance company tactics, so you can focus on your recovery.
The Facts About Deaths Caused by Red Light Runners
AAA reports that 2017 data on red light deaths reveals some disturbing trends. For example, that year, 939 people were killed in the United States by red light runners. This was a ten-year high, and it was also a 28-percent increase since 2012. Nearly half of these fatalities (46 percent) were passengers and drivers in other vehicles. It was less common for the driver running a red light to be killed in the accident (35 percent).
So why are red light accidents on the rise? National Public Radio spoke with the AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research about this issue. He suggested that distracted driving was a major contributing factor. Drivers who are on their phones are less likely to see a yellow light and start slowing down. Pedestrians and bicyclists who are distracted are less able to see drivers coming, and might not be able to get out of a dangerous intersection in time to avoid a collision.
Another contributing factor is the number of miles being driven. After the economic crisis of 2008, Americans significantly reduced their road trips. The annual number of miles driven on the roads of the United States has slowly increased as the economy recovers. As the number of miles driven increases, so do auto accidents of all types. Thus red light running – like other car accidents – is bound to increase as Americans drive more miles.
How Can We Reduce Red Light Running?
Many communities across the country have implemented red light cameras at intersections. These cameras take photos of vehicles that run red lights so that the drivers can be ticketed by local law enforcement agencies. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these cameras are effective at reducing both the number of crashes and red light violations. Cameras in Oxnard, California, and Fairfax, Virginia, caused red light violations to drop by about 40 percent in both communities.
Not everyone is excited about red light cameras, however. Some drivers complain that it is a violation of privacy, while others feel that law enforcement must be done by human beings. In the overall balance, it is difficult to see that these concerns outweigh the number of lives that have been proved to be saved by red light cameras, but there is still opposition to them. It is important for local and state legislators to be aware of the safety benefits of red light cameras and be willing to confront opponents in the interest of saving lives.
What Road Users Can Do to Reduce Red Light Accidents
Ultimately, all road users must accept personal responsibility for implementing safe road habits. AAA conducted a survey in which 85 percent of drivers agreed that red light running was very dangerous, yet nearly one out of three drivers surveyed reported that they had run a red light in the past thirty days (when they could have stopped safely). This data shows that the problem isn’t in public awareness of the dangers of red light running. Rather, the problem is drivers’ failure to hold themselves accountable for safe driving habits.
So what can drivers do to reduce red light accidents? NPR advises drivers to carefully monitor green lights that are “stale.” (This is when a light has been green for some time when you approach it.) State green lights are more likely to turn yellow as you approach, and drivers should be prepared to slow down. In order to stay aware of stoplights, drivers cannot allow themselves to become distracted by their phones, radio, navigation systems, children, or pets in the vehicle. Focus your attention right where it should be – on the road. Be particularly cautious when you are running late or in a hurry. There are situations in which you might be tempted to “beat the light.”
NPR also has recommendations for pedestrians and bicyclists. Make sure that an intersection is clear before you begin to cross. To be sure, wait three seconds after you get a walk signal before entering the intersection. This will allow any straggling vehicles to clear the intersection before you are in it. Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they can see you. Distraction can be a deadly problem for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well. Put your phone down and turn your full attention to the intersection before you enter it. Take off your headphones or earbuds so you can hear any vehicles approaching.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a West Covina Personal Injury Lawyer
As you can see, red light accidents can change the course of an injury victim’s life. Victims have the legal right to be compensated for all of their medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, and any decreases in future earning potential. Many insurance companies try to skirt these obligations by making lowball settlement offers. Some may even send an investigator out to film the victim and attempt to discredit his or her claims. An experienced West Covina personal injury lawyer can protect you from insurance company tactics while protecting your right to be compensated for all the losses you have suffered.
Call Deldar Legal today at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation. Our West Covina personal injury attorneys fight hard to help accident victims get the compensation to which they are entitled.
Posted in: Personal Injury