It is the most basic of traffic rules, one even a preschooler knows - red means stop. Despite it being so simple, it is a rule often violated by drivers who either don't notice the color change or decide to push through what may start as a yellow light but is definitively red as their vehicle pulls through the intersection. Red-light running leads to serious injuries and even deaths. Our Panama City car accident injury law firm represents the victims of these crashes, helping the victims left behind when people ignore the most fundamental traffic laws.
The danger of red light running was reiterated in a story shared by WJHG. Last Saturday night, a car heading westbound on 11th Street travelled through a red light at Frankford Avenue. The car collided with an SUV that was driving north on Frankford, sending the SUV into a tree at the corner of the intersection. Both the driver or the SUV and his passenger were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not deemed life-threatening. Police cited the driver of the car for careless driving.
On a webpage dedicated to the issue of red-light running, the Federal Highway Safety Administration ("FHSA") calls the violation "a serious intersection safety issue across the nation." In 2008, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") found there were a total of more than 2.3 million reported intersection collisions, including approximately 733,000 injury crashes and more than 7,770 deaths. Narrowing this down, the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System concluded that red-light running caused at least 762 fatalities in 2008. This figure is based on a definition of red-light running tied to local law, with some areas using a "permissive yellow" rule (violation occurs when a driver enters an intersection after the red) and others using a "restrictive yellow" rule (violation occurs when the driver fails to fully clear the intersection when the red light begins). Using this standard, the NHTSA further estimates that 165,000 people are injured each year due to red-light running.
Notably, a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ("IIHS") found that half of those killed in crashes stemming from red-light violations are not the violators themselves. A third of those interviewed in an IIHS study reported personally knowing someone who was hurt or killed in a crash caused by red-light running. A full 97% of drivers said that other drivers failing to obey red lights posed a major safety threat. Sadly, this knowledge doesn't seem to translate to personal behavior, a fact reiterated in another FHWA fact sheet that says 1 in 3 drivers report running a red light in the prior 30 days.
The riskiness of red-light running is without question. Per the FHWA fact sheet, an individual is more likely to suffer injury due to a crash involving red-light running than any other type of collision. If you have been the victim of a red-light running crash in Northwest Florida, please call our Panama City injury law firm. We help victims injured by someone else's negligence recover money damages and begin the process of moving forward.