According to a study of traffic accident data conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of crash fatalities due to drivers running red lights has surged in recent years. In the state of Oklahoma, more than 3,000 crashes occurred from drivers ignoring traffic signals. The Traffic Safety Culture Index indicates that 85% of drivers say going through a red light is very dangerous, but almost 33% said they’d done it in the prior 30 days.
According to an Oklahoma police chief, the problem may be related to distracted driving. He estimated that approximately 33% of drivers are using a smartphone at any given time. At least 11 people were killed in Oklahoma in 2018 in crashes where a driver ran a red light. In 98 of these crashes, people were seriously injured. Nationally, 939 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by red-light runners in 2017.
Drivers can take various steps to avoid running red lights. First, they should not drive while distracted. Even looking at the phone for a moment can take the driver’s eyes off the road for five full seconds. When approaching intersections, drivers should prepare to stop and be especially alert while approaching stale green lights. It’s also a good idea to tap the brakes before fully stopping to alert other drivers.
Someone who has been injured in a car accident caused by a red-light runner might be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills or other damages. An Oklahoma personal injury lawyer could help a plaintiff by gathering evidence or interviewing witnesses to build a case. A lawyer might be able to negotiate a settlement for money damages or file a civil complaint for recovery in court.