Car Accidents at Red Lights

Written by Greg on November 14, 2014
Car Accidents at Red Lights

Red Light Accidents

For many drivers, the transition between yellow and red can often mean the difference between continuing to a destination, or needing to stop and wait for a few minutes before that route can be continued.

However, according to research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, individuals who run the red light are not just sparing themselves an extra minute or so of transition time, but are also causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries annually.

As the research points out, in 2012 alone there were 683 individuals killed and 133,000 injured due to instances of red light running. Not only does this represent deaths and injuries associated with other drivers, but also their passengers, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. Needless to say, this selfish act can become extremely costly, both in terms of fees and overall injury and loss of life.

According to the Institute for Highway Safety, on average, a red light violation will occur at a rate of 3.2 every hour. In addition, while 93% of drivers believe that running a red light is completely unacceptable for any reason, 35% percent of drivers polled have also admitted to doing so in the past thirty days.

Most Likely to Run Red Lights

The question then becomes, if so many people are against the act, why does it still happen? According to the research, the drivers that are most likely to run a red light are those who are younger, more inexperienced, and have an overall poorer driving record than driving counterparts who stop at traffic lights.

The research works to show that drivers who frequently ran red lights were three times as likely to have multiple speeding convictions on their driving records as opposed to those who obeyed the rules of the road.
There are lots of different reasons why an individual may feel the need to run the red light. As mentioned, they may simply believing they are saving time getting to their next location, no matter how miniscule, or they may get a thrill from the thought of engaging in this selfish and undeniably dangerous act. No matter what the reason, the situation can be very serious and has led to both injuries and death.


There are an abundance of measures that have been utilized in order to cull this dangerous act. While roundabouts have done well to replace signalized intersections, this is simply not feasible to implement this strategy everywhere. In addition, some areas do not logically make sense for a roundabout. Thus, one measure has been to install cameras at heavily trafficked areas that see an influx of red light violations.

Better timing on yellow lights has also worked to decrease the instances of crashes associated with red light running. Despite these measures, perhaps one of the most viable ways to help prevent red light running, and ultimately save lives, is to simply work to obey all of the rules of the road and be mindful of other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

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