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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 and engage in risky driving behaviors 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.

What are the Consequences of Red Light Violations?

Running a red light can come with a variety of consequences, some that will affect the driver on a more personal level, and others that can be dangerous for everyone.

  • Major Risk to Safety: Running a red light is dangerous for anyone around, whether it’s other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists. This action increases the likelihood of a collision, including T-bone accidents and life-threatening injury or death for pedestrians or cyclists.
  • Risk of Legal Consequences: A red light violation is considered a traffic offense, often resulting in traffic violations and penalties such as fines, points on the driver’s license, and an increase in insurance premiums. If the violation resulted in an accident or injury, the driver may face more severe consequences, such as license suspension, mandatory driver improvement programs, or even criminal charges.
  • Added Financial Burden: Getting fined for a red light violation can be substantial, and if someone is a repeat offender, the total can add up quickly. If there are several violations, insurance premiums can also increase quite a bit, or may decide to cancel a policy, requiring the need to find a new provider for coverage who will likely charge a higher rate.

Are Red Light Cameras Effective in Preventing Traffic Light Violations?

Red light cameras have been a point of contention amongst drivers, law enforcement, and policymakers for several years. Some studies suggest that red light cameras are effective in reducing violations for improved intersection safety, but others question their overall impact for drivers. In some instances, they can be a deterrent, helping to raise driver awareness to comply with traffic signals since they are aware they’re being monitored. They can also decrease the number of severe crashes and injuries at intersections due to this increase in compliance.

However, those fighting against red light cameras argue that these serve primarily as a revenue-generating tool for the local municipality, focused more on generating fines rather than placing them in areas posing the greatest safety risks. Red light cameras can also increase the likelihood that drivers perform sudden stops in an effort to prevent getting a ticket, but this can cause serious rear-end collisions.

All in all, red light cameras can potentially be effective, but it depends on a variety of factors, such as proper implementation, targeted placement, and ongoing evaluation.

What Are the Dangers of Running Red Lights?

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 in St. Louis 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 and St. Louis auto injury representation. Red light accidents are preventable and all drivers must adhere to street signs, rules of the road, traffic safety tips, and laws against distracted driving to protect themselves and others.

Contact The Simon Law Firm, P.C.

Our mission is to provide the highest-quality legal services with integrity, professionalism, and respect for our clients.
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