stop light and sign

“Stop on Red” Week is observed annually the first full week in August. Many drivers may think that stopping at red lights and stop signs is obvious and not something that they need to be reminded of, but unfortunately, we’ve seen that’s not the case.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, running red lights is the most common cause of urban crashes, and causes more injuries than any other type of crash.

Even worse, according to data compiled by AAA, red light-running deaths are on the rise, and have been for more than a decade.

Red Light-Running Crashes By-the-Numbers:

  • Every year, roughly 165,000 people are injured in collisions when drivers run red lights.
  • 2-3 people are killed in red light-running accidents every single day.
  • While ~90% of surveyed drivers agreed that running red lights is dangerous, one-third of surveyed drivers admitted to running a red light within the last 30 days.
  • Half of all people injured in red light-running accidents aren’t the drivers who ran the lights—they are other motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Why Do People Run Red Lights or Stop Signs?

There are many reasons why drivers run red lights and stop signs, but in our years of experience as personal injury attorneys, we’ve come to recognize the reasons below as some of the most common:

  • The driver was speeding. When drivers are speeding, especially if they are trying to beat the yellow light, they may not have enough time to come to a complete stop before entering the intersection, or before colliding with another vehicle already stopped at the light.
  • The driver deliberately ignored the traffic signal. Far too many times we’ve heard negligent drivers trying to justify causing crashes that injured our clients because they were “in a hurry.” But personal convenience doesn’t trump the law or the safety of others that those traffic laws were created to protect.
  • The driver was distracted. Drivers who are distracted by their phones, adjusting their GPSs or radios, eating, talking with passengers, or grabbing something from their back seats may not even notice that they are approaching red lights or stop signs. But this isn’t an acceptable excuse. When behind the wheel, a driver’s attention should be fully focused on the task of driving.
  • The driver was drunk or tired. Drugs, alcohol, and sleep deprivation have many negative side effects that can lead drivers to run red lights. For example, they can affect a driver’s vision, making it more difficult for them to see the traffic signal; slow their reactions so they can’t stop in time; impair a driver’s judgement, making it so they have trouble remembering how dangerous running a red light can be; or even impact a driver’s ability to remember what traffic signals mean.
  • The traffic signal was obscured. A driver may be unable to tell what color a traffic light is if their view is obstructed by a large truck ahead of them. Meanwhile, a driver may be unable to see a stop sign, and not even realize it’s there, if it is hidden by foliage.

Only this situation might excuse a driver who ran a red light or stop sign from fault. However, they may still be considered at fault if they were familiar with the intersection and knew or should have known a stop sign was there, for example.

Victims of Red Light-Running Accidents Deserve Compensation

Stop signs and traffic lights are installed precisely to prevent crashes, and when negligent drivers don’t obey these traffic signals, they are guilty of failing their duty of care to those around them, whether other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians.

If you or someone you love was injured because a driver ran a red light or stop sign, you may be eligible for compensation. When your injuries are not your fault, you don’t deserve to be stuck with the consequences. Our experienced South Carolina auto accident attorneys want to help you get money for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Contact Joye Law Firm today for a free case consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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