The number of people killed by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high. According to an AAA study of government crash data, in 2017, 939 people were killed by vehicles that blew through red lights. This is the highest death toll since 2008 and 28% higher than in 2012. AAA says two people are killed every day in the United States by drivers who run red lights at street intersections, making it extremely dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists.
What the Study Shows
AAA researchers say they are not sure why these numbers have been steadily climbing or why they have increased at a far higher rate than overall U.S. roadway deaths. Since 2012, the overall number of highway fatalities rose 10%, far short of the 28% increase in red light-running deaths.
While there are more people on the roads these days, that doesn’t quite explain why red light-running deaths are increasing at a faster rate, researchers say. They suspect distracted driving could have played a role in these types of crashes. In some cases, they say, traffic lights that weren’t timed optimally could also be to blame.
AAA also found in its analysis that 28% of crash deaths at intersections with signals happened because a driver ran a red light. AAA recommends that governments increase the use of red light cameras directly supervised by authorities in order to boost enforcement where needed.
Researchers also recommend that drivers pay attention when they’re driving and tap their brakes while approaching a light to warn other drivers about a possible stop. For pedestrians and bicyclists, AAA recommends taking a few moments just to ensure traffic has stopped before crossing the street.
Laws and Liability Issues
Under California law, drivers are required to come to a complete stop at red lights. California Vehicle Code section 21453 (a) states: “A driver facing a circular red signal shall stop at the limit line before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown.”
If you have been injured as the result of a crash where the other driver ran a red light, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer will be able to help you seek and obtain maximum compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.