In 1995, Federal Highway Administration created a public education campaign designed to discourage red light running. DaimlerChrylser and the American Trauma Society teamed up to bring the program to locations nationwide. In areas where the program was presented, there was a decline of as much as 15 percent in the number of car collisions caused by people going through traffic signals. The success of the program showed public education can work to change behavior.
Even so, there are still too many people who go through a traffic signal when the light is red. In an effort to educate drivers about the dangers of running a red light, National Coalition for Safer Roads has spearheaded National Stop on Red Week. Held during the first week in August, this educational campaign involving the NSCR and local communities provided a wealth of information to drivers about why they should never go through a red light.
Car Accidents Can Occur When Drivers Go Through a Red
Some of the most important information provided as part of National Stop on Red Week included details about crash statistics and about the tremendous losses caused by people going through red lights. One published list of 10 reasons to stop on red had some terrifying data about the number of injuries and fatalities caused by people failing to obey traffic signals.
Between 2004 and 2013, there were 7,779 fatalities in collisions due to people going through traffic signals. In 2013 alone, there were 127,000 injuries and 697 fatalities caused by red-light running drivers. In approximately half of the collisions caused by a driver who ran a red light, the victim was someone not in the car with the driver who ran the traffic signal. The victim may be a motorist in another vehicle, or may be someone who is walking or cycling alongside the road.
Almost everyone knows someone who has been a victim of a car accident. One out of three Americans said they know someone who was injured or even killed in a motor vehicle accident. Within urban areas, red light collisions are the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents that result in injury to motorists.
People know the risks of running a red light. Even so, many drivers continue to engage in such dangerous behavior. Responding to a survey, 76 percent of people indicated it was unacceptable to run a red light and 55 percent said it was dangerous to run a red light. Still, 36 percent of respondents said they had gone through a red light. Many drivers become used to running a red light. As a result, they start to think it is not that dangerous because they have done it in the past and not been involved in an accident. This makes them more likely to do it in the future. National Stop on Red Week should be a good reminder to all motorists to never go through a red light.