Traffic rules are not optional; they are mandatory to protect drivers, pedestrians, and everyone on the road. One of the most basic rules is to stop at red lights. However, drivers often overlook this rule, causing severe accidents that can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
Every year during the second week of August, Stop on Red Week is observed to highlight the importance of obeying red traffic lights and preventing deaths caused by drivers disregarding this rule. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, an average of two people die each day in the U.S. as a result of red-light running crashes. These statistics underscore the importance of following basic traffic rules.
Let’s take a closer look at the alarming red light crash statistics, the top causes of red-light collisions, the most common injuries suffered as a result of these crashes, how to establish an at-fault party, and the steps to take if you should ever find yourself or a loved one involved in a crash caused by a negligent driver.
Red Light Crash Statistics
Red-light crashes are among the deadliest types of accidents because they usually involve a driver entering an intersection at full speed, and the statistics show it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), red light crashes killed 8,000 people, and injured approximately 2.3 million more from 2008 to 2018. These numbers are staggering, and they emphasize the need to observe traffic lights at all times.
Other alarming red-light crash statistics include:
- An average of two people die each day in the United States, and 50,000 are injured due to red-light running.
- You are more likely to be injured in a red-light collision than any other type of car accident.
- Half of the people killed in a red traffic signal accident are not the actual signal violators. They are passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- Running a red light is the most common cause of urban crashes.
Unfortunately, these statistics have not shown a significant decrease in recent years, despite the implementation of red-light cameras and improvements in traffic safety laws. If you were injured in an accident where another driver ran a red light, consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights.
Top Causes of Red-Light Collisions
Traffic accidents are often caused by some form of driver error, and it’s the same in the case of red-light collisions. The most common causes of red-light accidents are:
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving – texting, talking on the phone, or any other activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road – is one of the most common causes of an accident, especially one at a traffic light.
- Speeding: Going too fast, especially in busy intersections, gives drivers less time to react when the light turns red.
- Intoxication: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol slows drivers’ reaction times and impairs their judgment.
- Reckless driving: Disregarding traffic signals, weaving in and out of lanes, and tailgating can cause serious accidents.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand that running a red light is against the law and puts everyone on the road at risk.
Common Injuries Suffered as a Result of Red-Light Crashes
Red-light crashes can result in a range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and even death. Due to the nature of these accidents, the injuries sustained in red-light collisions can range from minor to severe. The most common types of injuries include:
- Whiplash and soft tissue injuries: A sudden impact from an accident can cause muscle sprains, strains, and whiplash.
- Broken bones: A high-impact collision can cause fractures in the arms, legs, or spine.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): If a person’s head strikes an object or is jolted violently, they may suffer a concussion, contusion, or other TBI.
- Internal bleeding: High-speed accidents can cause internal injuries that may go unnoticed until it’s too late.
If you suffered any injuries in a red-light crash, your medical bills can add up quickly, especially if you were severely injured. And if you are forced to miss work, you may lose out on wages and income. Before settling with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, consult with an accident attorney to explore the benefits of a personal injury claim. Almost always, these claims, when handled by an experienced and successful motor vehicle accident lawyer, yield substantially more compensation than when pursued by a non-attorney.
How to Prove an At-Fault Party in a Red-Light Accident
To prove fault for an accident at a red light, you will need to show that the other driver was negligent by failing to obey the traffic signal. To do so, you may have eyewitness testimony, video footage from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras, police reports, or other physical evidence from the scene of the accident.
It’s important to gather as much evidence as possible immediately following the accident and to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver. These types of cases can be complicated to win, so having a top accident attorney on your side can increase your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Steps to Take After a Crash Involving a Negligent Driver
If you or a loved one are involved in a red-light crash, the first priority is to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained. Even if you feel fine after the accident, have the EMS on the scene examine you and then follow up with your physician. Remember — some injuries are not immediately evident and can surface hours or even days after the accident.
If possible, you should also gather information from the other driver, including their name, contact information, and insurance information. Take photos of the scene of the accident, write down the names and contact information of any witnesses, and contact the police to file a report.
Finally, consult with a highly-rated personal injury law firm to determine your legal options and to get the guidance you need to navigate the complex process of pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses.
As we observe Stop on Red Week, it’s important to remember the significant risks associated with running red lights. By understanding red-light crash statistics and the top causes of red-light collisions, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones on the road.
Car Accident Injury Attorneys in Lancaster, Pa.
If you’ve been involved in a red-light crash, don’t navigate the legal maze alone. At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C., we are dedicated to helping accident victims in Lancaster County, PA and the surrounding areas get the compensation they deserve. In fact, we have won over $90 million for our clients.
With our experienced and trial-tested attorneys by your side, you can focus on your recovery while we handle the insurance companies and the legal complexities in seeking fair compensation. We offer free consultations, and we don’t charge a fee until we win your case. Contact us today either online or by calling us at 1-800-HURT-NOW. And remember, Winning Is No Accident…