A new study says deaths caused by drivers running stop lights has reached the highest level in a decade. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study says 939 people were killed by people blowing through a red light in 2017, the final year of the study.
The fatality count in 2017 rose for a fifth straight year and represents a 31% increase over 2009 when 715 people died in red light collisions. The study tracked anyone killed in an accident including passengers, drivers and pedestrians.
Study suggests the leading causes for the increase
AAA says the research shows, on average, that two people are killed because of drivers running red lights. While the study did not try to determine the cause for the increase, it mentions two possible reasons:
- More cars on the road: AAA researchers say it’s clear that Americans are driving more than they did 10 years ago. The Federal Highway Administration says the number of miles traveled by vehicles rose by 5% from 2008 to 2017.
- Distracted drivers: The study begins shortly after the rise of smartphones in 2007 as well as distracting entertainment options now available in cars. Experts say those devices are likely reasons why total traffic deaths have significantly risen from 32,744 in 2014 to 37,133 in 2017, a 13% increase.
Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility
Distracted drivers can cause extensive damage to themselves and endanger the lives of their passengers, people in other cars and pedestrians. Running a red light frequently causes fatalities, or serious injuries that result in massive medical bills, lost wages and other damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer here in California can help you if you’ve been hurt by other people’s negligence and recover the compensation you deserve.