The vast majority of the drivers recently polled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that running through a red light is extremely dangerous. However, almost one in three of them admitted to doing just that in the previous 30 days. This kind of cognitive dissonance is not uncommon in traffic safety studies. In fact, analysts suspect that it’s one of the reasons why the number of fatal accidents involving red-light runners has recently surged in South Carolina and across the U.S.
Accidents involving red-light running claimed 989 lives in 2017, according to government crash data. In 65% of these cases, the road user killed was struck by the offending driver. The annual red-light running death toll has risen by a worrying 30% since 2012, and many senior police officials believe that distraction and cellphone use are largely responsible. Cars going over 45 mph cover a distance of about 100 yards in just a few seconds, which is why looking at a cellphone screen instead of the road is so dangerous.
Road users who wish to avoid being struck by a red-light runner should wait until vehicles come to a complete stop when traffic signals change. Those killed in car accidents that take place in intersections often see the vehicles that strike them but assume they will stop.
Many busy intersections are now equipped with cameras. Experienced personal injury attorneys may use the images or video footage from intersection cameras to establish the sequence of events in car accident lawsuits. Attorneys could also use subpoenas to obtain cellphone records when police accident reports suggest that distraction may have been a factor. When reckless drivers are killed in the accidents they cause, attorneys may seek compensation for their victims by initiating litigation against the applicable auto insurance companies or estates.