Study finds deaths from drivers running red lights at ten year high

AAA people killed red lights
© AAA

Yet many jurisdictions are pulling out their cameras, because Freedom!

We were appalled earlier this year when Texas banned red light cameras, after complaints that they were money grabs, that they were not constitutional, and they messed up some guy's breakfast.

Now the American Automobile Association (AAA) has found that deaths from red light running are at a ten year high, with 939 people killed in 2017, the last year with complete data. "More than two people are killed every day in red light running crashes, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists."

“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures.”

In Suffolk County, NY, politicians are currently debating the removal of red light cameras.

Critics have said the red-light camera program, which generates more than $20 million in revenue annually, exists primarily to raise money for the county. They also complain the program has slowed traffic and cite a recent consultant's study showing the number of accidents of all types at red-light camera intersections rose by 59.6 percent between 2015 and 2017.

The increase is attributed to drivers jamming on the brakes and causing rear-enders and fender benders. However, the AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that, overall, "when properly implemented, red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21% and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14%."

“Deaths caused by red light running are on the rise,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS Vice President for Research. “Cameras increase the odds that violators will get caught, and well-publicized camera programs discourage would-be violators from taking those odds. Camera enforcement is a proven way to reduce red light running and save lives.”

And yet, American politicians continue to try and get rid of those cameras, and surprisingly, in the last post, many of our readers agree.

The AAA concludes with some recommendations for drivers, including "Driving Defensively: Before you enter an intersection after the light has turned green for you, take a second after the light changes and look both ways before proceeding." I would have thought that this was an invitation to get honked at by the person behind you; I asked my wife who drives and she said, "I always do that; cars are always racing through reds. And yes, people always honk at me."

They recommend that pedestrians also "Wait: Give yourself a few seconds to make sure all cars have come to a complete stop before moving through the intersection." I always do that, because again, cars are often running solid reds, particularly when making left turns.

So, basically everyone is slowed down because we cannot be sure that people are actually going to obey the law and stop for a red light. I am surprised that people don't demand red light cameras on every intersection as a way of keeping traffic moving.


He's right. Put them everywhere. There is no constitutional right to run over people. That's not "freedom."

Study finds deaths from drivers running red lights at ten year high
Yet many jurisdictions are pulling out their cameras, because Freedom!

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