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AAA Study Finds Red-Light Accidents Hit Highest Mark in Decade

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on December 11, 2019

Running red lights is dangerous driving behavior that puts everyone on the roadways at risk. In a recent AAA Foundation study, researchers found that more than two people a day in the U.S. are killed because of impatient drivers blowing through red lights. In 2017, 939 people were killed in red-light-running accidents, which represents a 28% increase from 2012 and a ten-year high, as reported by AAA.

Who Is Harmed Most by Red-Light Running?

Nearly half of the people killed in red-light crashes were passengers of the red-light-running drivers or occupants of other vehicles. More than 5% were pedestrians or cyclists. The drivers who ran red lights accounted for 35% of fatalities in these crashes. In addition to the fatalities, an estimated 132,000 people were injured in red-light-running crashes in 2017, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Nearly One in Three Drivers Surveyed Ran a Red Light in the Past 30 Days

In its most recent Traffic Safety Culture Index (an annual survey identifying driver attitudes and behaviors), AAA Foundation found that 85% of drivers surveyed viewed red-light running as extremely dangerous. Yet nearly one in three said they had run a red light, when they could have stopped safely, within the past 30 days. More than two in five drivers said it is unlikely that they will be stopped by police for running a red light.

How Is Red-Light Running Defined?

A driver who enters an intersection at any time after the light has turned red is running a red light. The exception is in locations where a right turn on red is permitted, after coming to a complete stop. In these cases, drivers who fail to stop completely before turning right are red-light runners. Motorists who are inadvertently in an intersection when the signal changes to red (for example, waiting to turn left) are not running the light.

Liability for Red-Light-Running Accidents

Failure to obey traffic signals is against the law. A driver who causes a fatal crash by running a red light could go to jail and face other penalties, as well. In addition to criminal penalties, drivers who run red lights expose themselves to civil liability. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who ran a red light, you are entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver. To prove the at-fault driver was negligent, our car accident attorneys may use:

  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Intersection cameras
  • Footage from nearby building security cameras

Call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for dedicated representation in a personal injury claim. Our Seattle car accident lawyers have been awarded membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We resolve more than 90% of our cases without a lawsuit, but we have the trial experience to take your claim to court and win, if necessary.

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