Drivers urged to put a stop to red light running
Forgetting that simple rule can have devastating consequences. Last year, four people were killed in Idaho and another 1,050 were injured when motorists ran red lights, according to the Idaho Transportation Departments Office of Traffic and Highway Safety (OTHS).
Each year, there are more than 1.8 million intersection crashes nationwide, resulting in 89,000 injuries and more than 1,000 deaths. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers red light running poses to motorists and pedestrians, the Idaho Transportation Department joins other safety organizations to observe Aug. 28-Sept. 3 as National Stop on Red Week.
We hope these statistics drive home the fact that running red lights at intersections is extremely dangerous, says Mark Strait, of OTHS. The good news is that there is a simple solution, and we can all contribute: stop when the light is red.
Running red lights scares most people 96 percent of Americans say they are afraid of being hit by a driver running a red light. Yet, many drivers admit to doing it. Nearly one driver in five admits to recently running a red light, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation survey.
Almost half of survey respondents are prompted to speed through intersections for one simple reason: they were in a hurry.
Red light running is just one symptom of aggressive driving, Strait says.
The behaviors that define aggressive driving include being in a hurry, disregarding traffic signals, tailgating, speeding, and failing to yield right of way.
One of those five behaviors is a contributing factor in 55 percent of all Idaho crashes. Red-light running results in the most severe type of aggressive driving crashes in an urban setting. And approximately half of all crashes that involve red-light running result in injury.
Everyone, whether in a car or on the sidewalk, wants to get home safely. Stopping at red lights is a simple thing that all drivers can do to help make this possible, Strait adds.
Failure to stop at traffic control devices (including stop signs and red lights) ranks fourth among the reasons that Idaho drivers are cited for traffic violations, according to OTHSs 2003 figures.
Running red lights isnt a dangerous practice of just one category or age group. Theyre everyday people, professionals, blue-collar workers, homemakers, parents, and young adults, Strait says.
Stop on Red Week is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, the American Trauma Society and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.