Traffic signals are in place to help control the flow of traffic and limit the number of motorists traveling through intersections at the same time. However, these signals only prove effective when drivers abide by them, and new research regarding just how often Americans are blowing through red lights reveals that many of them fail to do so.
In fact, AAA Newsroom reveals that the number of people losing their lives as a result of drivers blowing red lights reached its highest point in 10 years in 2017. That year, 939 people lost their lives after motorists blew through red lights, with an average of two people losing their lives due to these circumstances every day in America.
While the number of people dying in crashes caused by red-light runners spiked 28% between 2012 and 2017, it is important to note that, in many cases, the people who died were not the negligent drivers. Instead, in about 46% of all red-light crashes with fatalities, the people who passed away were other drivers or passengers traveling the roadway and not those who chose to blow through red lights.
Recent research also shows that while the majority of American motorists wholeheartedly agree that blowing red lights is dangerous, many of the same drivers admit to running them anyway. In fact, while 85% of American drivers note that blowing through red lights is extremely dangerous, about one in three also admits to having done exactly that within the last 30 days. Also troubling is the fact that the majority of those who blew through red lights within the last 30 days also assert that they could have just as easily stopped at the intersection.
While it is unreasonable to expect others to always abide by the rules of the road, doing so may help protect you at signaled intersections to some extent. Try tapping your brakes when approaching intersections. If there is ever a question of whether you are going to make it through on time, hold off.