One of the first things we learn in driver’s education, or from a family member or friend teaching us to drive, is that green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. These are hammered into our heads because not only will disregarding these instructions cause frustration for other drivers and potentially lead to tickets by police but there is a high risk of serious car accidents occurring. In St. Louis, Missouri, there is a plague of disregarding red lights and drivers are putting themselves and others at risk for serious injury – whether stopping then driving through a solid red light or taking the chance and not slowing down at all through a solid red, these drivers are breaking the law and acting negligently. In this blog, we will examine why drivers run red lights, what it means to run a red, and what happens after being injured in an accident where the other driver was negligent.
Why Do Drivers Run Red Lights?
In most instances, drivers will run a red light on purpose. In some cases, accidentally running a red light occurs because of driver distraction, whether it be from eating, phone usage, or distraction within the car. In terms of purposeful acts, some run red lights because they are running late for something or do not want to waste time by sitting at an intersection. Others make the decision when the light turns yellow and they do not think they can stop in time without damage to their car, or there are hazardous conditions, such as rain or snow, that require them to begin braking further back and they have missed their window of opportunity. Running red lights also includes making a turn on red when a sign forbids the same. If a driver disregards a “No Turn on Red” sign, then they have technically run a red light and can be cited by law enforcement.
The Dangers of Running a Red Light
In 2020, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recorded that 928 people were killed in crashes, including pedestrian accidents, resulting from running red lights. Further, they found that 116,000 people were injured in accidents due to drivers running red lights. When a driver runs a red light at high speed, the injuries resulting can be serious, including death. In St. Louis, the downtown area has many straight roads perfect for racing which has become an issue since traffic became low due to COVID-related closures and work-from-home orders. Drivers have been seen speeding through red lights at speeds of over 60 miles-per-hour which can lead to instant death or catastrophic injuries for the driver, other drivers, and pedestrians. In downtown St. Louis and many other parts of the city, some red lights can take a considerable amount of time to change, which results in some drivers stopping, looking to see if there is any oncoming traffic, and then running the red light through the intersection or at a light that does not permit turning on red. In these lower-speed accidents, serious injuries can still occur if a car T-Bones another, or if a driver hits a pedestrian. Internal injuries are serious and quick medical attention must be provided.
Hit By Someone Running a Red Light? Here’s What To Do.
If you are hit by a car running a red light, whether in a car yourself or walking as a pedestrian, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if there are no apparent injuries, internal injuries can wreak havoc on the body. While calling 911, it is important to request ambulance and police, but dispatchers will usually send both. A police report documenting the accident and taking statements of all parties will be necessary if you pursue civil action against the driver. Once you have started your recovery, your next step will be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to litigate your case against the negligent driver.
The personal injury attorneys at The Simon Law Firm, P.C. are specialized in negligent car accident litigation. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a driver running a red light, contact us for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal options. Red light accidents are preventable and all drivers must adhere to street signs, rules of the road, and laws against distracted driving to protect themselves and others.