In a recent study, AAA found that intersection fatalities caused by drivers running red lights is at a 10-year high. According to the latest figures, a deadly intersection crash happens every twelve hours across the country. This means that two people die per day in the U.S. due to drivers running red lights.
Sadly, passengers make up almost half of all intersection fatality victims. Drivers and pedestrians come in second and third, respectively.
Despite these statistics, Americans seem to be aware of the dangers of running red lights. In their most recent Traffic Safety Culture Index, AAA polled drivers about road safety. This study found that 85% of drivers believe that running a red light is “very dangerous.” Yet, one out of every three drivers admitted to having run a red light in the past thirty days, and they did so even though stopping safely was possible.
So why are intersection fatalities on the rise? And why does a seemingly concerned public still run red lights?
Unfortunately, the answers to these questions remain unclear. One reason may involve a spike in the sheer number of people on the road. Jake Nelson, an AAA official, suspects that distracted driving also has some part to play. It may be that drivers are preoccupied with their cell phones, while pedestrians are distracted on sidewalks.
What Can Drivers Do to Improve Intersection Safety?
Whatever the explanation may be, drivers should take important precautions. AAA recommends that drivers:
- Prepare to stop at intersections. When approaching a traffic signal, drivers should ease off the accelerator. They should position their foot over the brake instead.
- Gauge the length of time a traffic light has been green. If a traffic light has been green for a long time, then drivers should expect a yellow light soon after. Anticipating a sudden switch may prove lifesaving.
- Proceed with caution. Once a traffic signal has changed from red to green, drivers should make sure the intersection is clear before proceeding.
What Can Pedestrians Do to Improve Intersection Safety?
Like drivers, pedestrians can take important precautions at intersections. Pedestrians should:
- Proceed with caution. Pedestrians should wait until cars have come to a full stop before crossing an intersection.
- Stay alert. Pedestrians should avoid distractions when crossing a street. They should remain fully aware of their surroundings.
- Remain visible. Pedestrians should make sure drivers are able to see them. This could mean staying in well-lit areas, bringing their own light source or making eye contact with drivers.
Recent data shows that Hartford has the highest rate of traffic control violations in Connecticut. Taking the above precautions may mitigate these numbers. If you have been involved in an intersection accident, our attorneys may have the legal advice you need. Contact us online or at (860) 253-2729 to learn more.