Running red lights is killing more Americans than ever, according to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study found that deaths from drivers running red lights reached a 10-year high.
There were 939 fatalities, up 31% from a low of 715 in 2009. Fatalities in red-light collisions increased for a fifth straight year. The study tracked anyone who was killed, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Reasons for the Increase in Traffic Light Accidents
Brian Tefft, a senior researcher at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said one of the clear contributors is that Americans are driving more. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of miles traveled increased 5% during the period tracked in the study.
Distracted driving is another contributing factor. The prevalence of smartphones, which have exploded in popularity over the last decade, is widely believed to contribute to the jump in collisions at red lights. Distracted driving is also a likely reason that the total traffic fatalities surged to 37,133 – a 13% increase from the all-time low of 32,744 just three years prior.
Many drivers admit that they ignore red lights from time to time. According to the AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, almost 1 in 3 drivers said they had run a red light within the last month.
Compensation Available for Victims of Red Light Runners
Victims of car accidents may be entitled to compensation under New Mexico law. When someone else’s negligence causes you to be seriously injured in a car accident, you could be eligible to recover damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
It is important as a car accident victim to know that the statute of limitations, or deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, in New Mexico is three years from the date of the accident (or longer for Uninsured Motorist claims). Missing the statute of limitations typically results in losing the right to file and, therefore, the right to seek compensation.
Driving Tips for Staying Safe at Red Lights
- Come to a complete stop at red lights. Brake slowly and steadily and stop far enough back that you can see the tires of the car in front of you.
- Stop behind the line. It is unlawful to stop past the white line or in the pedestrian crosswalk. If you are not the first vehicle at the intersection, allow space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists at crosswalks. They always have the right of way.
- Don’t try to run a red light. Not only is it illegal and can cause you to get a ticket, but it also puts you and others at risk for an accident. If you can’t stop safely for a yellow light, maintain your speed through the intersection.
- Look before accelerating. After the light turns green, look in all directions at an intersection before proceeding.
Contact Parnall Law for Help with your Traffic Light Accident Case
If you have been injured in a car accident that was due to someone running a red light, you may be entitled to compensation.
Attorney Bert Parnall and his team of experienced personal injury attorneys have helped thousands of car accident victims in New Mexico recover maximum compensation for their injuries. To learn more about your legal options, contact Parnall Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.