Study shows red light running a pervasive problem
Some traffic rules are obvious. For example, we all know that we should not drive too fast, get behind the wheel after drinking or fail to stop at red lights. Unfortunately, many drivers choose not to follow these rules. In so doing, they put everyone else on the road at risk of serious injury.
A striking illustration of this problem can be found in a recent study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads. During 2011, the NCSR tracked data from 1,240 red-light cameras in 18 states in an effort to study how and when drivers run red lights.
All told, the researchers spent a year observing the habits of just over 18 million drivers. Considering that small sample size, their findings should make all drivers pause before hitting the gas as soon as the light turns green.
During the course of the study, the NCSR recorded more than 2.34 million red light violations. Of those, just over 30 percent occurred between 1 and 5 in the afternoon. Somewhat surprisingly, only 9.75 percent of red light violations took place between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The study further found that drivers are more likely to run red lights on holiday weekends. The weekends surrounding Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Halloween all saw higher than average rates of red light violations. Christmas, on the other hand, had 40 percent fewer red light violations than the average day.
The Dangers of Running Red Lights
Running a red light is one of the most dangerous mistakes a driver can make. In fact, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 8,500 motorists were killed in intersection-related car crashes in 2011. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented if the at-fault driver had made a point of stopping at a red light.
Source: EHS Today, “Are Red-Red Light Runners Running Rampant? NCSR Says ‘Yes!’,” J.A. Rodriguez, Jun 27, 2012.