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When a person enters an intersection after the light turns red, they committed a traffic violation. This is referred to as running a red light. The only exception to this is when right-on-red turns are allowed. In this case, a driver failing to stop fully at the red light before turning is considered to have run a red light.
Running red lights is dangerous and has caused hundreds of traffic-related deaths each year. Over half of these deaths involved pedestrians or bicyclists. A recent analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than two people are killed every day in crashes from someone running a red light. Unfortunately, the frequency of fatal accidents caused by running red lights is on the rise. Further, running red lights causes many serious injuries. A recent study found that over 130,000 people were injured in red light accidents in a single year.
Research shows that knowledge of the serious risk of running red lights does not translate well into appropriate action. A recent survey by the AAA Foundation found that while most of those surveyed viewed running red lights as dangerous, one in three of them admitted to running a red light within the past 30 days.
Stopping people from running red lights has not been easy. In order to create a deterrent effect, most states impose substantial penalties for running red lights, which may include fines and issuing points on the driver’s license. Insurance companies will typically raise rates on customers having points on their license. Fear of getting ticketed alone does not provide an effective deterrent effect.
Sometimes the yellow light on the signal is too short and does not give drivers enough advanced notice to stop. Adjusting timing of the yellow light to values established by the Institute of Transportation Engineers has been shown to decrease the frequency of violations, as well as the number of crashes from red light running.
Use of red light cameras to monitor intersections and enforce traffic laws has proven to be a useful tool. The cameras are mounted on traffic signal poles and photograph vehicles that run red lights. The photographs can be reviewed, and tickets issued of clear evidence of a violation is found. The cameras also serve as a visual cue to warn drivers to think twice before running a light. Before and after studies of crash data at intersections equipped with cameras showed significant reductions in the number of crashes from red light running.
Since pedestrians and bicyclists are at an increased risk of serious injury in the event of a crash, it is important that they stay safe at intersections. AAA recommends:
If you or someone you know was involved in a red light accident, contact a Delaware car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow today. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or complete an online form. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.