According to a recent authoritative study, more are dying because drivers are running red lights. In the most recent year of available data, close to 940 people died in the U.S. from red-light runners. The fatality figure is the highest in a decade and shows a nearly 30% increase since 2012.
Unfortunately, Nevada and Arizona are the national leaders in deaths from blowing through red lights. In both states, there are about five deaths from red-light running per million people per year.
Rise in deaths from red-light runners is sharp
The numbers are clear. In the most recent year available, 23 people died in the state due to red-light runners. That’s about quadruple the figure in the least deadly year in the past decade.
From 2008 through 2012, no year saw more than 14 people killed in Nevada due to someone running a red light. The number has now not fallen below 17 since 2014.
Bystanders are dying most
Nearly 31% of those killed when someone ran a red light in Nevada were themselves the drivers who ran the red light. This is tragic enough, since nobody deserves to die for what might seem to some like a minor traffic violation.
However, in more than two-thirds of the cases, the red-light runner killed someone who had no choice in the matter. Over 69% percent of the people killed when someone ran a red light from 2008 to 2017 in Nevada were either just a passenger riding in the light-runner’s car, someone in another vehicle entirely, or a cyclist or pedestrian.
Holding red-light violators accountable part of solution
The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation, which was founded in 1947 as an entirely separate organization from the more familiar auto club. Its experts advocate using best practices with increased use of traffic cameras and ticketing.
Drivers trying to stay safe should drive defensively and cyclists and pedestrians should try to be patient, be highly visible and make eye contact with drivers.