Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reports the results of a recently released AAA study which show wrongful deaths caused by motorists running red lights reached a 10-year high last year. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that nearly 1000 people lost their lives last year when a driver disregarded or tried to beat a red light. The number of preventable deaths rose on a year by year basis by more than thirty percent over the past decade. This deadly trend represents the fifth straight year of deaths attributed to red light crashes. The AAA study monitored everyone killed in a traffic light crash, including the driver, passengers and pedestrians and cyclists.
Not to stress this point, but according to Jack Nelson, the AAA director of traffic safety and research, “this is at least two people killed every day at the hands of drivers blowing through red lights.”
While the purpose of the study was not to determine the reason for the increase in red-light related car accident deaths, the AAA still postulated that one contributing factor is that we are driving more as a society. According to the data AAA tracked, the average number of miles motorist drove over the last ten years, since the great depression, increased by more than five percent, a figure confirmed by the Federal Highway Administration. Other uncontroverted factors include the exponential rise in the number of so-called smartphones being used by drivers and the increase in in-vehicle information and entertainment systems.
Handheld and in-vehicle devices are a significant part of why drivers are ever increasingly distracted. The increase of distracted driving is one of the primary reasons why the total amount of car and truck accident deaths rose by nearly 15% over the last three years to a high of just over 37,000 across the United States. This fact must not be overlooked by passengers, as more than half of those killed in car accidents were not the drivers, but rather passengers or pedestrians. This is why the AAA reminds passengers not to further distract drivers, particularly as they approach intersections and traffic control devices, like stop lights.
The AAA is encouraging traffic engineers to make roadway changes including more roundabouts and including red-light cameras at particularly busy intersections, although they do not expect local governments to have or allocate the necessary financial resources to effectively make such changes. The hope is that the increasing implementation of self-driving vehicles will result in greater accident avoidance and the preservation of human life. We could not agree more, but it is likely that many years will pass before the amount of vehicles with viable accident avoidance technology will be on the road to make a meaningful change.