Red Light Running: Dangerous Driving Practice

red light running yellow lights stop light

Picture this scenario. You’re on the way to pick your kids up from school. As you near a stop light, it turns from green to yellow. What do you do? Do you continue to drive through the intersection, chancing that it could turn red condoning a red light running practice? Or do you stop? Yellow lights are a warning, a caution for drivers to slow down; however, many drivers take it as a sign to speed up and make a mad dash through an intersection.

Rushing Through Red Lights Causes Serious Car Accidents

Red light running is a serious intersection safety issue. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020, 928 people were killed and an estimated 115,741 were injured in car crashes that involved red light running. About half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners.

Defining Red Light Running

Simply put, red light running is when a car enters an intersection any time after the signal light has turned red.

In addition, when it is permissible to make a right turn on a red light, motorists who fail to come to a complete stop before turning could be considered red light runners.

However, motorists who may be in the intersection waiting for the signal to change to make a left turn are not considered red light runners.

When you have questions, our team is here to answer them for you.

Know the Facts about Red Light Running

red light running yellow lights stop light safety issue dangerous practiceRunning a red light is not about you risking a traffic ticket; it is about you putting the lives of other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

  • There are at least 3 million intersections in the United States and at least 300,000 have signals.
  • Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the United States (IIHS).
  • More than 3.5 million drivers received a red-light running violation in 2019 (Verra Mobility).
  • An IIHS study found that cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14 percent. (IIHS)
  • One in three Americans know someone who has been injured or killed in a red-light running crash.
  • Red-light runners are more than three times as likely as other drivers to have multiple speeding convictions on their driver’s records.

Listen to this story about Amanda who was severely injured when a dump truck driver ran a red light and broadsided her SUV.

Is your state one of the top ten for red light running? Take a look at this red light running fatality map for 2019.

National Stop on Red Week

August is National Stop on Red Week. Join The National Coalition for Safety Roads to help spread the word to stop on red.

Beyond National Stop on Red Week, NCSR is dedicated to a year round effort to educate drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians about the danger of red-light running; raise awareness about the benefits of red-light safety cameras; and equip communities with the tools necessary to start their own local outreach efforts

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Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in a red light running motor vehicle accident in which you suffered serious injuries due to another’s negligence? Call the Kansas City-based law firm of Nash & Franciskato at (877) 284-6600.

One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally and will provide you with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.



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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published August 3, 2015. It was reviewed on August 3, 2022 and updated for content and accuracy.  

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