Drivers Running Red Lights Caused 939 Deaths in 2017, a 10-Year High

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Sep 05, 2019 in Auto Accident

Red light with stop signThe number of deaths caused by drivers running red lights reached a 10-year high in 2017, with 939 people getting killed in these crashes, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This includes drivers and passengers in the at-fault driver’s vehicle and pedestrians and those in other vehicles. However, more than half of those who died were not in the at-fault driver’s car.

The 2017 total is a 31-percent increase over the 2009 total of 715. Deaths from these kinds of accidents have also increased 28 percent since 2012. Deaths from these kinds of crashes make up more than a quarter (28 percent) of traffic fatalities in intersections.

At minimum, two people are killed each day in crashes involving a driver running a red light, according to AAA Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research Jake Nelson.

The AAA study tracked the numbers of deaths caused by red light runners as far back as 2008, but did not go deeper to determine what may be causing the increase.

However, some AAA officials believe the increase may be caused, in part, by people driving more miles each year. Brian Tefft, senior researcher at AAA, says the average number of miles driven rose as much as five percent during the time period of the study.

Another factor in the increase in red light crash deaths may be distracted driving. An increase in distracted driving may be due to the popularity of smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Despite the high number of deaths that occur when drivers run red lights, many Americans ignore red lights from time to time. According to AAA’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, about one in three people admitted running a red light within the last 30 days.

How to Lower the Risk of a Traffic Accident at a Red Light

You cannot prevent other drivers from being reckless, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of an accident at a red light:

  • Be prepared to stop when approaching any traffic light, especially one that has been green for a long period of time, because it may be about to change.
  • Be aware and drive defensively when approaching any traffic light – watch for other drivers who are not slowing down as they approach the intersection.
  • If you are at a red light that has just turned green, wait a second or two and look in both directions to make sure drivers in opposing traffic have stopped.
  • Keep your full attention on what is happening on the road. Avoid texting or phone conversations until you get to your destination.
  • If you are a pedestrian, look out for any approaching traffic or distracted drivers before crossing the street.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by driver negligence or distraction, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. We encourage you to contact one of our experienced Portland car accident attorneys today.

We are here to help, and your initial consultation is completely free, so there is no risk to you.