Some drivers are in a hurry; others distracted by cellphones. Either way, drivers who fail to stop when a light turns red are highly likely to broadside another car or be struck by someone who has the right of way.
Fatal crashes caused by red light runners are at a 10-year high in the US, according to researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It was the cause of approximately 939 traffic fatalities in 2017 — a 28 percent increase from 2012. Almost 50 percent of traffic fatalities caused by red light runners involve passengers and occupants from other vehicles. More than five percent involve pedestrians and bicyclists.
After surveying several drivers on the dangers of red light running, AAA's latest Traffic Safety Culture Index found:
- Eighty-five percent of respondents see red light running as dangerous.
- 1 in 3 respondents said they had blown through a red light within the last 30 days of being surveyed.
- More than 2 in 5 respondents believe it's unlikely they'll be stopped by police if they run a red light.
Crashes caused by red light runners may soon increase in Texas
Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conclude that red light cameras have reduced fatal crashes involving red light runners by 21 percent in large cities. In addition, fatal crashes of all types were reduced by 14 percent at signalized intersections.
Red light cameras, however, were recently rendered useless across the Lone Star State after Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that made them illegal, according to StreetsBlog. The law went into effect on September 1, 2019. In fact, lawmakers have been trying to rid the state of them since they were introduced in 2007, asserting that they are unconstitutional.
With the absence of cameras, more drivers may feel compelled to run through red lights without any concern about getting caught. This means, the likelihood of crashes at signalized intersections will only increase in Texas. In order to mitigate the risk, here are some safety tips offered by AAA:
- Place your foot above the brake pedal and be prepared to stop when approaching a traffic light.
- Be aware that a green light could change at any given moment, especially if it hasn't changed in a while.
- Give your brakes a couple of taps before stopping at a red light. This could alert drivers behind you to stop, especially if they are inattentive.
- When your light turns green, take a second to look both ways before proceeding through an intersection to avoid being struck.
For pedestrians and bicyclists:
- Don't proceed through an intersection until all cars have completely stopped.
- Avoid using headphones or electronic devices. Stay attentive and aware.
- Be visible at all times and stay in well-lit areas.
- Before crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers to ensure they can see you.
If you were injured in a crash because a driver failed to comply with traffic safety laws, speak to an experienced Texas car accident attorney at Chad Jones Law as soon as possible. Our legal team works tirelessly to help injured motorists recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-economic damages. Contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.