Red Light Running Deaths Hit 10-Year High
AAA Foundation reveals disturbing trend, increasing risk for drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians
August 29, 2019 - The number of people killed as the result of drivers running red lights has spiked sharply in recent years, according to analysis of crash data by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And, more often than not (almost 65% of the time), the victim is not the offending driver.
“This disturbing trend impacts everyone on our roadways – drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians,” says Marilyn Buskohl, spokesperson for AAA South Dakota “It is critical that all parties understand this increased risk and adjust their behaviors accordingly.”
Statistics indicate that red light running crash deaths jumped almost 30% between 2012 and 2017, the most recent crash data available, with the aggressive, reckless behavior claiming at least 2 lives every day across the US.
The most recent crash data available shows 939 people were killed in red light running crashes in 2017 -- a 10-year high.
(Link to video/broll of red light running HERE and HERE)
“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures.”
According to the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 85% of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, yet nearly one in three say they blew through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely.
“Drivers need to check their behaviors including not driving distracted or ‘intexticated’ as AAA’s campaign, ‘Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.’ urges.” Drivers can take the following actions to prevent red light running:
- Take the Pledge to Stop Driving Distracted at AAA.com/dontdrivedistracted:Glancing at your phone for 5-seconds while driving is comparable to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded. That’s all it takes to run a red light.
- Prepare to Stop: Lift your foot off the accelerator and “cover the brake” when preparing to enter any intersection by positioning your right foot just above the brake pedal, without touching it.
- Use Good Judgement: Monitor “stale” green lights, those that have been green a long time as you’ve approached the intersection. They are more likely to turn yellow as you arrive at the intersection.
- Tap the Brake: Tap your brakes a couple of times before fully applying them to slow down. This will catch the attention of drivers who may be inattentive or distracted behind you.
- Drive Defensively: Before you enter an intersection after the light has turned green for you, take a second after the light changes and look both ways before proceeding.
Pedestrians and cyclists should also stay safe when traveling near intersections. AAA recommends:
- Wait: Give yourself a few seconds to make sure all cars have come to a complete stop before moving through the intersection.
- Stay Alert and Listen: Don't take chances and don't wear headphones. Watch what is going on and give your full attention to the environment around you.
- Be Visible: Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
- Make Eye Contact: Look at drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before crossing the road in front of them.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.