As recently reported by The Drive, drivers who run red lights are responsible for an increasing number of deaths across the country. Analysis by four traffic safety advocacy groups found that fatal car accidents caused by negligent drivers who failed to stop for traffic signals rose by a stunning 17 percent between 2012 and 2016.
While there were roughly 700 deaths attributed to red light running at the start of that time period, there were 811 by the end of it. More than half of those killed, researchers said, were those not at fault for the crash. Occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists are paying the most dearly for those who fail to use care in observing red traffic signals.
Back in 2000, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety identified Phoenix as being the city with the highest red light running deaths, with 10.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Arizona as a whole also ranked No. 1 nationally, with 7.1 deaths in red light running crashes per 100,000 people. That was before red light cameras became widespread in the state.
In 2017, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported a total of 5,555 drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes were cited for disregarding a traffic signal. Another 1,136 were cited for running a stop sign. Red light runners specifically accounted for 2.23 percent of all Arizona crashes, collectively resulting in 30 deaths, 2,516 injuries and more than 3,000 property-damage-only crashes.
Researchers attribute this increase, in part, to the number of states and communities dismantling their red light camera programs amid legal challenges and legislative bans. FOX News reports seven states – including Arizona – have weighed legislation that would outlaw red light and speed camera use, with detractors saying the programs are ripe for abuse.
But those involved in this latest study – the IIHS, AAA, Advocates for Highway Safety and the National Safety Council – insist that red light cameras save lives, noting that the rise in traffic signal violation deaths may be related to a 21 percent dip in the number of communities using the red light cameras.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by a red light runner, an attorney at Israel & Gerity, PLLC can help you seek justice.