Some 939 people were killed in red light running crashes in 2017 — a 10-year high and a 28% increase over the 731 lost lives in 2012, according to a data analysis conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The data indicates a steady increase in red light running fatalities over approximately the last six years.
For example, 2013 saw 739 people killed due to motorists who failed to halt at a red light. In 2014 it was 761 fatalities, followed by 831 in 2015, and 874 in 2016.
The fatality figures include road users of many kinds — red light running drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
The data shows that nearly half (46%) of people killed in red light running collisions were passengers of the red light runner or individuals in other vehicles. In addition, over 5% of those who lost their lives were pedestrians or cyclists.
Just over 35% of those killed were the drivers who ran the red light.
Every day, more than two people are killed on the nation’s roads by impatient and reckless drivers blowing through red lights, notes the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
In fact, 28% of fatalities that happen at signalized intersections are due to a driver running a red light.
Yet research shows drivers are astutely aware of the dangers of red light running. For example, the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index found that 85% of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, however nearly one in three say they ran through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have safely stopped.
In addition, more than two in five drivers say it is unlikely police will stop them for blowing through a red light.
On the positive side, some deterrents are working. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that when properly implemented, red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21% and the rate of all types of crashes at signalized intersections by 14%.