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Red-light running is a serious intersection safety issue across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts 2008 Report. A red light accident almost always results in a serious injury for the defenseless driver who is t-boned by the red light runner.
Red Light Accident Fatalities
A major contributing factor in car crash fatalities is people running red lights. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that red-light running is the leading cause of urban collisions, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 8,700 people were killed in intersection or intersection-related crashes in 2009. More than two-thirds of these fatalities are pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers who never saw the red-light runner coming.
Texas has a major problem with drivers running red lights. According to the Dallas City Hall website, out of all 50 states Texas ranks 4th when it comes to the number of red-light fatalities per person. Ignoring traffic signals is one of the major causes of motor vehicle accidents.
Texas red lights typically mark the intersection of two roads running different direction, perpendicular to each other. Therefore, a red light accident is usually a T-bone collision, where the front end of one vehicle slams into the side of the other vehicle. T-Bone accidents are more likely to cause serious injury or death than either front or rear-end collisions of the same severity. Even with side airbags, the side of the car is the most vulnerable part of the car in a collision. Just imagine, you are in the driver’s seat, someone runs a red light, and smacks into the driver’s side door.
Reducing Red Light Accidents
What has been done to prevent people from running red lights? Some cities have installed Red Light Safety Cameras. A federal study found a small but measurable reduction in injuries nationwide in accidents at intersections monitored by cameras, though there was an increase in some kinds of collisions. There have been an increase in rear end collisions at intersections with red light cameras because people were slamming on the breaks in order to avoid running a red light.
Another problem that is being faced by some cities such as Dallas, is that there has been such a decrease in people running red lights. Why is this a problem? As people learn where the red lights are, and they no longer run them, fewer citations are issued, and the city loses money. City wide statistics in Dallas show that red light cameras do reduce red light accidents and that is a good thing, but they reduce revenue by reducing the number of red light violations. Dallas, Charlotte, and Fayetteville, NC are just a few of the cities that have turned off a few of their red light cameras because they were costing more money to keep them running, than the profit they were making. The caveat being, do the cities want to face more rear end collisions or the more dangerous t-bone collisions? “We would prefer to have minor rear-end collisions, rather than broadside collisions, which lead to serious and fatal injuries” says accident lawyer Andrew Traub.