A recent accident and traffic safety report has concluded that on average, at least two people in the U.S. die in car crashes each day as a result of running red lights. Additionally, the report highlights that from 2007-2011 an average of 751 people died each year in red-light-running crashes and 63 people died each month in red-light running crashes. From a cost perspective, involving both loss of life and property damages, the report notes that approximately $378 million was lost due to red-light-running fatalities each month. For the years in which the crash data was compiled, it was noted that on average, about half of the red-light-running deaths involved people other than the red-light runner and that red-light-running crashes injured 118,000 people.
Although the report notes that total red-light-running crash fatalities decreased 22% from 2007 to 2011, many communities have attempted to directly address the issue of distracted drivers in the running of red lights by installing what are referred to as “red-light safety cameras” to essentially monitor such intersections. The cameras identify drivers that run either red-lights or stop-signs, taking a photo of the violator’s license plate, and then issue a fine, citation, or penalty. The cameras have been an increasingly effective deterrence and a means by which communities may adequately enforce and otherwise monitor dangerous intersections.
Red light cameras have become so effective throughout the U.S. that the total number of red-light safety cameras is estimated to have increased by 135% over the course of the past few years. The effectiveness of such red-light safety cameras has also been increasing, where as a result of communities using such cameras, it is estimated that approximately “201 fewer people died in red-light running crashes in 2011 than in 2007, saving $1.2 billion in costs [and] year-to-year changes in red-light running fatalities reveal an average annual decrease of 5.6% from 2007 to 2011.”
The running of stop-signs has and remains another significant issue for many communities, especially since, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in 2014 there were 13,627 cars involved in various accidents where the primary violation at issue involved the running of a stop-sign to the failure to adhere to a stop-sign.
From a liability perspective, the running of a red-light or a stop-sign can and does have serious consequences, especially when the net result may be serious bodily injury or in many circumstances, death. Additionally, most jurisdictions, including West Virginia, recognize that a traffic accident that involves the running of a red-light or a stop sign is a violation that automatically lends itself to fines, punishment, a citation, and in many circumstances, license suspension. Additionally, traffic violations involving the running of a red light or a stop sign, especially where the driver did so as a result of being distracted, can evidence negligence where the courts may impose civil liability based upon the traffic violation itself.
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If you or someone you know has suffered a car accident as a result of a distracted driver running a red light or a stop sign, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters and can evaluate your potential legal claims on your behalf.