Red Light Running and Pedestrian Accidents

Red light arrow signal in foreground with cars driving below in the background

Preventing Red Light Running May Reduce the Rate of Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries

There are many different causes of pedestrian accidents in which pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles, but a recent article in suggests that red light running is one of the primary ways in which pedestrians are struck by negligent motorists. More than 260,000 pedestrian accidents happen every year as a result of drivers who run red lights, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that about 137,000 people suffer injuries in red light running collisions. The IIHS indicates that pedestrian accidents involving drivers who run red lights and stop signs are the most common reason for crashes in urban areas, resulting in more than 20% of all reported collisions.

While other motorists and motor vehicle passengers often are the ones who suffer injuries in red light crashes, pedestrians also suffer severe and deadly injuries as a result of drivers who run red lights. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), about half of the people who are killed in red light running accidents are not the ones who ran the red light, and frequently are pedestrians. According to the article, commentators believe that one of the particularly problematic issues surrounding red light running is that many drivers run red lights. Even if drivers do not believe other drivers should run red lights, they continue to engage in this dangerous behavior and suffer the consequences of running a red light. The FHWA reports that more than 90% of drivers recognize that running a red light is dangerous and even “unacceptable,” yet more than one out of every three drivers admit to running a red light at least once in the last month.

Most of us know that pedestrians are safest when they cross the street within a designated crosswalk and only when a “walk” light is illuminated. However, red light running can change the equation entirely when it comes to crossing a street safely, especially in an urban area. When a driver runs a red light, that driver can strike a pedestrian in a crosswalk in which the “walk” light is illuminated. To put it another way, a pedestrian can take all recommended safety steps and follow all pedestrian safety tips but still suffer serious or deadly injuries in a red light crash.

Get the Facts About Red Light Running Crashes

We have discussed some of the alarming statistics about red light crashes and pedestrian accidents, and we have collated additional information from the IIHS and the FHWA:

  • Red light runners tend to be younger drivers;
  • Those who run red lights tend to engage in other risky driving behaviors, such as failing to wear a seat belt;
  • Drivers who engage in red light running are three times as likely as drivers who do not run red lights to have prior speeding convictions or other aggressive driving citations;
  • A driver runs a red light every 20 seconds at an urban intersection;
  • Among the consequences of running a red light, red light crashes result in about 9,000 deaths every decade; and
  • Each day an average of seven deadly red light crashes occur while 1,000 injury crashes are linked to red light running accidents every day.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident caused by an individual running a red light, you should discuss your options with a pedestrian accident lawyer.

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