When one vehicle collides with another in a car accident at the high speeds when running a red light, the effects can be catastrophic. Each year in the United States, people that run red lights are a top cause of car accidents, resulting in nearly 1,000 wrongful deaths and about 90,000 cases of personal injury. In short, this is a serious problem.
Red Light Auto Accident Statistics
- Car crashes from red light runners are more likely than any other type of crash (47 percent versus 33 percent) to produce some degree of injury.
- Fatal car accidents caused by running red lights are more likely to occur on urban roads than any other fatal crashes.
- Red light running car accidents are slightly more likely to occur during the day.
Many Drivers Rush Through Red Lights into Car Crashes
As our country’s population grows, more and more red lights have been appearing at intersections. Red lights help ease the traffic flows that can sometimes get bogged down by four-way stop signs and blinking lights.
Unfortunately, red lights do not ease traffic jams enough for those drivers that are in too much of a hurry. When drivers rush and speed up when they approach a yellow light -- which cautions drivers to slow down to a stop -- and often times people speed through an intersection well after the light has turned red. The leading excuse cited by people that run a red light is "being in a hurry". This concept -- that someone’s time is more important that other drivers’ safety -- has led to these staggeringly high car accident statistics due to running red lights.
Another group of red light runners are the inattentive or distracted drivers, who were not paying attention to the road. Driver distractions are an even larger problem that is not merely limited to running red lights.
Attorneys Can Help if a Malfunctioning Traffic Light Causes Accidents
As car accident attorneys in San Diego, we have actually handled cases where the traffic light itself was defective, giving both drivers a green light at the same time. Defective red lights could easily cause a rash of car accidents. How can this happen? Traffic lights are built by people and human error is always present in society.
An experienced car accident attorney should know how to conduct a proper and timely investigation. In fact, hiring a car accident attorney immediately is important as the injured party in an auto accident has the burden of proof and must show that the traffic light was defective, not the other way around. If the injured party waits too long before hiring a car accident attorney, valuable evidence can be lost and the city, county or whoever is responsible for the defective traffic light might fix before an investigation can be conducted. If the red light is working properly, it would be important that an auto accident reconstructionist examine the timing of the traffic light.
Red Light Cameras Installed to Prevent Car Accidents
To combat this problem, automatic cameras are being installed over intersections that catch red light runners in the act. Law enforcement officials can fine photographed offenders through the mail and monitor entire intersections remotely.
The early indications are that this new technology can slow the staggering red light running car accident statistics, but time will tell. The California Board of Audits completed a review of red light camera programs in California a few years ago and found the programs to be effective in reducing auto accidents caused by drivers who ran red lights. The board reported a 10 percent drop in car accidents, in which the cause was running a red light in areas that had the cameras installed. In San Diego alone, the number of car accidents caused by drivers who run red lights dropped 44 percent in areas with the cameras, while red light running auto accidents increased by 14 percent when the camera program was suspended.
Presently, 26 states are employing the red light camera program. It is certainly a start, but there is more work to be done in this regard. As San Diego car accident attorneys, we believe that you should never speed up at a yellow light. That is how many car accidents start. Safety should always be the top priority on the road, and one way of limiting car accidents is for everyone to make sure they always stop at a red light.
Call Us Now to Maximize Your Auto Accident Settlement
Have you been injured in an automobile caused by another driver that ran a red light? Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident attorney to find out how we can help you.
Our San Diego law office has been dedicated to serving people with automobile accident injuries for the past two decades. Our attorneys look forward to providing you with good advice so that you can make smart decisions about your case.