Anyone and everyone driving a car knows that a red light means “stop.” Even school children who play “Red Light, Green Light” are aware of the concept. Unfortunately, traffic lights can only do so much to keep people from willingly breaking the law and putting others in danger.
This is an issue on the rise, as the number of deaths resulting from drivers running red lights has increased by 17 percent from 2012 to 2016. That’s why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the National Safety Council (NSC) are all advocating for the increased use of red light cameras.
The safety advocacy groups all point to the correlation between the declining use of red light camera programs and the increase in crashes and deaths due to these incidents. In 2012, there were 696 deaths as a result of these crashes. This number marked only the third time that there were fewer than 700 deaths since the year 2000. By contrast, there were 811 such deaths in 2016. This was the highest rate since 2007 when there were 914 recorded deaths. More than half of the victims were not at fault in these accidents.
There were 421 active red light camera programs as of July 2018, a 21 percent decrease from the 533 in 2012. To reverse the decline, the four safety organizations have created an outline for a “red light camera checklist.” They hope that it will encourage the re-adoption of these systems. While the outline is focused on planning and maintaining programs, it also deals with public relations. According to the IIHS, the support for red light camera programs is strong, so long as drivers see that the cameras are meant to discourage crashes and not to rake in revenue.
While an increased number of drivers running red lights will inevitably result in an increase in victim fatalities, other factors possibly made the difference between injury and death, contributing to the total number of deaths. A rise in pedestrian deaths can be partially attributed to the increase in SUVs and crossovers on the road. They have higher hood lines, which are more likely to inflict fatal head, neck, and chest injuries on pedestrians.
With more SUVs on the road, there’s a higher chance one of them strikes a pedestrian by running through a red light. If the vehicle is a commercial truck, that chance is exponentially greater. Commercial trucks take up to 40 percent longer to stop than passenger vehicles, adding to the danger.
Greater adoption of safety features, especially on commercial trucks, can help decrease the number blown red lights and the resulting deaths. These safety systems can alert drivers to the dangers around them quickly and provide automatic braking as a last resort.
Dealing with insurance companies requires experience to get the job done effectively. If you or someone you know was the victim of a driver who ran a red light, contact our office today.