01:00 AM

Red Light Running Deaths Hit 10 Year High

AAA: Red Light Running Deaths Hit 10 Year High



Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group,
cell (813) 244-0815, MWaiters@AAASouth.com

Red Light Running Deaths Hit 10 Year High

Red Light B-Roll

AAA Georgia Newsroom

ATLANTA, Ga. (August 29, 2019) — Drivers running red lights kill at least two people daily- an alarming trend that has safety experts urging drivers to use caution and pedestrians and cyclists to be alert. According to new data analysis performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 939 people were killed in red light running crashes on U.S. roads in 2017- a 10-year high, and a 28% increase since 2012.

"Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger," said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The AAA Foundation reported that 28% of the crash deaths occurring at signalized intersections are the result of a driver running a red light. Nearly half of those killed in red light running crashes were passengers or occupants of other vehicles.

"The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures," continued Yang.

According to the AAA Foundation's latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 85% of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, yet nearly one in three say they blew through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely. More than 2 in 5 drivers also say it is unlikely they'll be stopped by police for running a red light. Nevertheless, it's against the law and if a

driver is involved in a deadly crash, it could send them to jail.

While police can't realistically be at every intersection, enforcement is the best way to get drivers to comply with any law. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that when properly implemented, red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate in large cities by 21%. The same IIHS study found the cameras reduced the rate of all types of fatal crashes at

intersections with signals by 14%.

AAA believes that law enforcement officers are the most effective means of deterring violations of traffic laws and regulations. However, AAA recognizes the potential of red light cameras (RLC), to perform critically important enforcement functions, thus promoting traffic safety.

Proper implementation of red light cameras helps to ensure drivers' safety and trust in the systems. When using red light camera programs, local governments should incorporate best practices, such as:

  • Using the camera program as part of a comprehensive traffic safety strategy, including engineering and education.

  • Only implementing programs on roadways with a demonstrated pattern of violations or crashes.

  • Notifying drivers that cameras are being used (signage and other methods).

  • Calibrating cameras regularly.

  • Only operating cameras under the direct supervision of law enforcement personnel.

  • Evaluating the programs on a periodic basis to ensure safety benefits are being realized.

Changes in driver behavior are also critical to reducing the number of red light running crashes on U.S. roads. To prevent red light crashes, AAA recommends that drivers:

  • Prepare to Stop: Lift your foot off the accelerator and "cover the brake" when preparing to enter any intersection by positioning your right foot just above the brake pedal, without touching it.
  • Use Good Judgment: Monitor "stale" green lights, those that have been green a long time as you've approached the intersection. They are more likely to turn yellow as you arrive at the intersection.
  • Tap the Brake: Tap your brakes a couple of times before fully applying them to slow down. This will catch the attention of drivers who may be inattentive or distracted behind you.
  • Drive Defensively: Before you enter an intersection after the light has turned green for you, take a second after the light changes and look both ways before proceeding.

Pedestrians and cyclists should also stay safe when traveling near intersections. AAA recommends:

  • Wait: Give yourself a few seconds to make sure all cars have come to a complete stop before moving through the intersection.
  • Stay Alert and Listen: Don't take chances and don't wear headphones. Watch what is going on and give your full attention to the environment around you.
  • Be Visible: Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
  • Make Eye Contact: Look at drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before crossing the road in front of them.

Law or Ordinance

Where are they permitted?

Cameras in Place?



state law and city ordinance



civil monetary penalty of not more than $70; not considered a moving traffic violation, no points, not listed in driving record, and not used for insurance purposes

Georgia RLC Program 2018 Report

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation's mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.