Although traffic signals are designed to maintain an orderly flow of vehicles moving on the roads, a judgment error or an intentional disregard of a signal, especially when a red light is involved, could have catastrophic consequences. In fact, research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the majority of motorists believe that there is a major safety threat from drivers who run red lights. Additionally, approximately 33 percent of individuals have known someone personally who has been killed or seriously injured in an intersection incident due to red-light running.
Approximately 165,000 individuals suffer injuries each year due to motorists ignoring or missing red lights. In 2008, 762 people died in such accidents. In that year, there were approximately 2.3 million intersection-related car crashes in general, resulting in more than 7,770 deaths.
One of the most recent developments in dealing with running red lights is the use of cameras at intersections. Research seems to indicate that compliance with traffic signals has improved in settings where these automated enforcement features are employed. While cameras may crack down on purposeful red-light running, running stop signals due to distractions or erroneous judgment may require additional strategies for reducing injury accidents and fatalities. Stronger enforcement of hands-free laws might contribute to improved statistics. Creative approaches to monitoring cellphone use at traffic signals by placing officers in street clothes at strategic locations might also help. Additionally, communities might find that replacing traditional crossing signals with countdown versions may reduce the potential for erroneous red-light running.
Running a red light is usually considered negligent, and a person who has been injured in an intersection crash caused by a motorist who was in the process of doing so may want to speak with a personal injury attorney. It may be advisable to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.