Red light running fatalities in the U.S. have reached a 10-year high. In 2018, 846 people were killed and 139,000 injured in red light running crashes. Half of those fatalities included pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles. In fact, drivers running red lights kill at least two people every day.
A red light violation occurs when a vehicle enters an intersection any time after the traffic signal turns red. In Georgia, this violation is generally considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable with fines as high as $1000. In addition to fines, penalty points can be added to the motorist’s driving record.
Although there is no typical violator profile, data from fatal red light crashes do show certain trends. Red light runners are more likely to be young or male. These drivers often have prior accidents, or they may have been convicted of alcohol-impaired driving in the past. Red light runners are also more likely to speed or be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. In addition, these drivers are less likely to have a valid driver’s license.
Most drivers understand the risks associated with running a red light. In fact, 85% of drivers believe running a red light is very dangerous. Despite knowing the dangers of running a red light, many drivers feel that police are unlikely to stop them for the violation. As a result, almost one in three drivers readily admits to running a red light within the past month instead of stopping safely.
Statistics show that red light running crashes still occur at a staggering rate, and many of these incidents are the result of reckless driving. Even though many drivers mistakenly disregard the risk of punishment for this traffic violation, running a red light is illegal and even deadly. Most red light running accidents involve T-bone type crashes where the front of the offending vehicle collides into the side of the other vehicle. This type of impact can result in severe and devastating injuries including brain damage, paralysis or even death. A driver that is charged with causing an accident by running a red light can be held liable for the injuries sustained by the victims of this negligent behavior.
To reduce the frequency of red light running fatalities, drivers should always prepare to stop and use good judgment when approaching a traffic signal. It is also important to tap the brakes before coming to a complete stop to avoid a rear-end collision. As always, defensive driving is critical when a driver decides to enter an intersection. A driver should look both way before proceeding into the roadway to make sure that a reckless driver has not failed to stop at a red light.
Pedestrians and cyclists should also wait until all cars have come to a complete stop, always staying alert and listening. They should also make themselves visible to others and establish eye contact with the drivers in stopped vehicles.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured as a result of car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your eligibility for a claim for damages for your losses. You could be eligible for damages that include medical costs, lost income, diminished future earnings and other damages. Schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm.