Common Questions About Red Light Running Accidents (Part I)


July 15, 2014

Georgia drivers engage in many unsafe driving practices, which include clearly illegal conduct like drunk driving, and some that may appear less obvious such as driving practices like talking on a cell phone.  Running a red light constitutes one of the most dangerous driving practices.  When motorists fail to follow to obey stop signs, yield signs and traffic signals at intersections, these violations pose a significant risk of causing a crash.  The high risk of collisions at intersections necessitates meticulous coordination of cross traffic.  Because red light accidents are a leading cause of traffic-related injuries and fatalities, our experienced DeKalb County personal injury attorneys have provided some common answers to questions about red light accidents.

What constitutes a red light violation under Georgia law?

When a driver enters an intersection after a traffic light has turned red, this constitutes a traffic violation.  If a motorist is inadvertently in the middle of an intersection waiting to turn when the light turns red, this does not constitute running a red light.  Because Georgia permits right turns on red, after stopping and making sure it is safe to enter the intersection, a motorist commits a red light violation if he or she enters the intersection without stopping prior to turning right on red.

How serious is the danger posed by motorists who run red lights?

In a study at five busy intersections in a metropolitan area prior to the installation of red light cameras, a driver blew through a red light approximately every twenty minutes at each of the intersections.  During high traffic times of the day, drivers ran red lights even more frequently.  Another study of red light violations at 19 intersections in four states found that drivers ran red lights at a rate of 3.2 per hour.

In 2012, drivers who failed to obey traffic signals caused 683 fatalities and another 133,000 injuries according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  Approximately fifty percent of those who died were bicyclists, pedestrians or occupants of the vehicle that did not run the red light.  An IIHS study also found that red light running crashes were the most common type of collision in metropolitan areas.  Further, almost forty percent of accidents caused by disregarding traffic signals resulted in injury.

Have public service campaigns been effective in alerting drivers of the danger of red light running?

Government entities and traffic safety organizations have devoted significant resources toward educating the public on the dangers of inattention, alcohol impairment and other driving behaviors that lead to running red lights.  However, attitudes and behavior seem to diverge when it comes to obeying traffic signals.  A 2013 survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 93 percent of those in the study indicated that driving through a red light was unacceptable if it was safe to stop.  Nonetheless, 35 percent of those who responded admitted that they had run a red light during the prior thirty day period.  When it comes to driving safely at controlled intersections, driving patterns and attitudes often diverge.

If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident by a driver who ran a red light, you might have a right to financial compensation. 

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case

Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat. 

Sources:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Red Light Running (March 2014).

Retting, R.A.; Williams, A.F.; Farmer, C.M.; and Feldman, A.F. 1999. Evaluation of red light camera enforcement in Fairfax, Va., USA. ITE Journal 69:30-4.

Hill, S.E. and Lindly, J.K. 2003. Red light running prediction and analysis. UTCA Report no. 02112. Tuscaloosa, AL: University Transportation Center for Alabama.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 2014. 2013 traffic safety culture index. Washington, DC.

Zador, P.L. 1984. Right-turn-on-red laws and motor vehicle crashes: a review of the literature. Accident Analysis and Prevention  16(4):241-5.

Preusser, D.F.; Leaf, W.A.; DeBartolo, K.B.; and Blomberg, R.D. 1981. The effects of right-turn-on-red on pedestrian and bicyclist accidents, Report no. DOT HS-806-182. Darien, Connecticut: Dunlap & Associates, Inc. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1995. The safety impact of right turn on red: report to Congress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.