A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that the percentage of drivers who are running through red lights increased 17% between the years 2012 and 2016. In 2016 alone, 811 people died nationwide because someone failed to stop for a red light. The IIHS study also disclosed that more than 50% of the red-light death victims were pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of vehicles other than the one that ran the red light.
The IIHS, AAA, the National Safety Council, and the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety believe that responsive action by local and state governments is now required. The IIHS believes that part of the reason for the increase is that communities aren’t taking advantage of the red-light camera programs that are now available. Red light cameras are used to identify and ticket drivers who run through red lights when they don’t have the right of way or the proper authority.
What are the dangers of running red lights?
Drivers often run through a red light because they are speeding up to “beat” the change from yellow to red. In these cases, the speed at which the driver hits the other car can increase the severity of impact, and therefore increase the risk to both drivers and passengers. Other times, drivers may be distracted or impaired in some way, or may not realize that they need to wait for a green arrow to turn.
As a result, people can be seriously injured in a number of ways. Three common types of car accidents include:
- Broadside collisions. While drivers in the perpendicular or cross-lanes should normally wait to proceed if they are stopped at a traffic light, many drivers proceed as soon as the light turns green. If a first driver runs through a red light and a second driver goes on a green light, the front of the first driver’s car is likely to strike the side of the second driver’s car. In these broadside collisions, the driver in the second car can be easily killed because the side of the vehicle offers little protection. If a driver proceeds through a green light, without having first stopped, and another driver runs through a red light (due to driver distraction, alcohol, or fatigue), both drivers and all passengers are likely to be killed or suffer catastrophic injury.
- Bicyclist deaths and injuries. Drivers who run through red lights endanger the lives of non-drivers. An adult or child on a bicycle is simply no match for the power, size, and weight of an oncoming vehicle.
- Pedestrian deaths and injuries. Like bicycle riders, pedestrians rely on all drivers to stop when a light is red and to stop before they enter the crosswalk. If a reckless driver runs through a red light and strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian’s family will usually file a wrongful death claim against the driver and the car owner. The claim will normally seek payment for lost income, the loss of companionship and services the decedent would have provided, the pain and suffering of losing a loved one, and the funeral bills. In red light car accident cases, the family should also claim punitive damages to punish the driver who ran the red light.
At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, our Gladiators in Suits have been aggressively fighting for car accident victims for years. We hold car drivers and car owners liable for all the physical harm and emotional suffering they cause. Our Nashville car accident attorneys demand negligent and reckless drivers pay for your medical care and your lost wages. For help now, please call us at 615-425-2500 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, Clarksville and Knoxville, but we fight for people throughout Tennessee.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney is a well-known and respected lawyer as well as published author, helping Tennesseans through difficult times since the turn of the century. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. Rocky McElhaney is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded Best Lawyer in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents people who have been injured by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, negligent premises owners, defective products and many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee. The firm also represents clients in the areas of workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability claims.