In 2017, the latest year for which complete crash data exists, there were 939 deaths caused by drivers who ran red lights. Virginia residents should know that this marks a 10-year high. The numbers may be getting even higher, too, considering how distracted driving is becoming a widespread phenomenon.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has discovered that in 65% of crashes involving a red-light runner, the victim is not the offending driver. In general, impatient, reckless and distracted driving is claiming up to two lives every day across the U.S. Drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists should know, then, how to avoid becoming another statistic.
Besides avoiding phone use and other distractions, drivers should be on the defensive against other drivers who may be distracted. When a light turns green, for example, drivers should pause a moment before accelerating and then look both ways. When approaching an intersection, drivers should cover their brake. They could tap the brakes a couple of times, too, to catch the attention of anyone behind them.
Pedestrians and cyclists must be alert to their surroundings and avoid anything that will reduce alertness, such as headphones. Before crossing the street, they should remain in a well-lit area, ensure that cars come to a full stop and try to make eye contact with drivers.
In the event of motor vehicle accidents, there will be the question of who was at fault. Ignoring a traffic signal is an act of negligence, and the driver may be held responsible. If the victim survived the accident, he or she may file a claim against that driver’s auto insurance company, though it may be wise to retain legal counsel. A lawyer might have the crash investigated and hire medical experts to determine the extent of injuries before starting negotiations.