There are many bad decisions a driver can make once he or she gets behind the wheel, from following other vehicles too closely to driving too fast to not signaling before changing lanes. Actions that divide the driver’s attention, such as using a cell phone or even talking to passengers, can also lead to problems.
But running a red light might be one of the most reckless things that any driver can do, and one that can potentially cause the most harm—both to the driver and to others unfortunate enough to be in the way.
How Often? Too Often.
Multiple studies have come to similar conclusions suggesting that at well-used intersections a red light is conspicuously run by a driver about three times every hour, with more violations at more congested times. Drivers agree that running red lights is dangerous: 93 percent said that doing so is unacceptable. But AAA uncovered an ugly truth: More than one in three drivers admitted to running a red light within the previous thirty days.
In 2015, red light running was estimated to have caused crashes that accounted for about 771 deaths and more than 137,000 injuries. The nature of red light running—entering an intersection that others are expecting to use without cross traffic—makes it particularly dangerous.
About 40 percent of all crashes happen at intersections, and crashes in which a driver ignores a traffic control device (such as a traffic light or a stop sign) were found in one study to be the single most common type of crash (22 percent of all collisions).
Tragic Local Case
More than half of the injuries and fatalities in red light running cases are to pedestrians and cyclists. The incident in Park Slope not long ago demonstrates exactly the kind of carnage that can be caused when even a relatively slow-moving vehicle crashes into unprotected people.
Two children were killed and their mothers injured, one critically, in that crash, as well as another man. The driver of that car claims that a medical issue caused her to lose control of the car, which if true raises the question of whether she should even have been allowed behind the wheel.
Red Light Cameras Helping
New York City began aggressively tackling this problem in 1988 by installing red light cameras to automatically capture violators on tape. Since that program started, NYC DOT claims that cameras have reduced red light running by an average of 75 percent at intersections where they’ve been installed (and even at intersections where dummy boxes have been installed. The city does not reveal which locations have cameras and which are phony). Crashes in intersections are down 62 percent and crash injuries 76 percent. Even rear-end crashes, which some worried would spike upward as drivers shifted to more sudden stops at lights, are down by almost 40 percent.
Intersection Car Accident Lawyer in NYC
If you’ve been harmed in a crash at an intersection caused by a driver who ran a stop sign, a red light, or otherwise violated traffic laws, turn to Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP for help. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience with intersection car accident cases. Give us a call at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to discuss your case.