Fatalities from Red Light Running at 10-Year High

More than two people were killed every day in red light running collisions, according to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study. The number of fatalities in these crashes hit a 10-year high in 2017.

The 939 deaths caused by red light running 2017 marked a 31% increase from the low of 715 in 2009. The AAA study examined fatalities between 2008 and 2017.

Fatal Traffic Light Accident Statistics

According to AAA, the 939 fatalities involving red light running represented 28.1% of all deaths in crashes at signalized intersections in 2017 – the highest percentage since 2011’s 30.2%.

The 939 deaths included:

  • 339 red light running drivers (36.1%)
  • 128 passengers of red light running drivers (13.6%)
  • 418 occupants of other vehicles (44.5%)
  • 54 pedestrians or cyclists (5.8%).

Virginia reported 14 deaths in red light running crashes in 2017. The number of collisions actually decreased from the 17 reported in 2016. In Virginia, deaths in red light running crashes included:

  • 40 red light running drivers (37.0%)
  • 6 passengers of red light running drivers (5.6%)
  • 62 occupants of other vehicles (57.4%)
  • 7 pedestrians or cyclists (6.3%).

Causes for the Recent Increase in Fatal Red Light Accidents

The reason for the sudden increase in red light running fatalities was not entirely clear, but AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson, told NPR that distracted driving was likely a major contributor, although he cautioned it was not the only cause.

Nelson pointed to a separate AAA survey that found about 30 percent of drivers had reported speeding through a red light in the previous 30 days, saying it implied drivers were not distracted.

AAA also stated that another factor was that since 2008, more people are now driving longer distances. Nelson said that as more people begin driving more, the simple exposure increases with more time on the road and more people are likely to inadvertently run red lights or be involved in accidents caused by red light runners.

Safety Tips to Reduce Fatal Red Light Accidents

AAA recommends that cameras be installed in areas with a pattern of red light collisions. Local law enforcement officials would be responsible for supervising the cameras.

AAA also suggests that drivers be more aware of “stale” green lights, which refers to a light that has been green for a considerable period of time and is thus more likely to suddenly become yellow.

Pedestrians and cyclists should make sure that intersections are always clear before crossing. They should always try to make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles.

Contact Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. If You Lost a Loved One in a Traffic Light Accident in Virginia

People who have suffered severe injuries or lost loved ones in car crashes caused by another driver running a red light need to understand that disobeying a traffic signal in Virginia is a violation of state law and also makes the driver negligent in the eyes of the law. Even if a driver is not charged with a moving violation after the crash, they could still be civilly liable for your injuries or a loved one’s death.

Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. has a record of success that includes $3.5 million recovered for a teacher seriously injured by a drunk driver. Our firm knows how to make negligent parties pay, and we can fight for justice for you as soon as you us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.