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Red-light traffic deaths reach a 10-year high

| Nov 9, 2020 | Injuries |

You may make every effort to slow down and abide by California traffic signals, but recent research shows that many other motorists across the nation fail to do the same. The number of people dying as a result of drivers running red lights is at its highest in 10 years, raising critical questions about how to lower these numbers and stay safe when navigating signaled intersections. 

According to NBC News, there is still much to learn about why the number of deaths caused by red-light runners has risen so much in recent years. What is clear, though, is that there has been a serious and substantial uptick. 

By the numbers

In 2017, 939 people died nationwide as a result of motorists blowing through red lights. This is a 28% increase from five years prior, in 2012. It is also the highest number of such deaths seen across the United States since 2008. 

Also noteworthy is that, while traffic fatalities of all types increased by 10% between 2012 and 2017, the number of red-light traffic deaths substantially outpaced this figure. Also, traffic fatalities caused by red-light runners accounted for almost 30% of all road deaths that occurred at U.S. intersections. 

Possible explanations

Right now, most explanations for the uptick in deaths caused by red-light runners are just theories. Some safety advocates believe the increasing number of deaths is the result of more drivers taking to the nation’s roads. Others assert that ill-timed traffic lights may be to blame. In particular, some safety advocates believe that many traffic signals do not stay yellow long enough for motorists to make their way through the intersections before the lights turn red.