Red Light Running Happens Frequently and is Often Deadly

An Estimated 143,000 People Were Injured in Red Light-Running Crashes in 2019

It may not seem like a big deal, but the consequences can be significant when a driver runs a red light. Drivers running red lights and causing traffic accidents have been a problem for as long as cars have been on the road. Drivers can avoid red-light crashes if they follow the rules of the road.

Drivers are more likely to obey traffic rules if they know there is a good chance of getting caught if they violate them. The knowledge that they are being monitored decreases the chances that drivers will break the law while on the road. We have all been there when we see a police car straighten up behind the wheel. We slow down and make sure that our hands are at ten and two.

We certainly make sure that we aren’t on our phones. But what happens when there are fewer police officers on the road? Every intersection can’t have a police officer stationed at it. As law enforcement began to rely on technology to monitor safety concerns on America’s roads, red-light traffic cameras were developed.

Many cities across the country started using red-light traffic cameras, hoping the number of deadly crashes reported decreased. The cities that used the cameras found some success, but not without public pushback about privacy concerns. Despite the problems that the public brought to the attention of the powers that be, red-light cameras make roads safer each year. Continue reading to learn more about red lights, red-light accidents, and how red-light cameras made roads safer.

Call the Car Accident Attorneys at Arash Law

You need an attorney if you suffered an injury in a traffic accident. The car accident attorneys at Arash Law have been helping car accident victims across the state for decades. In our decades of experience, we have helped clients collect more than $500 million in compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers. We want to help you, too. If you have been in an accident caused by a driver who ran a red light, call us today at (888) 488-1391 to schedule a free consultation.

How Running a Red Light Is Defined

how-red-light-running-is-definedIf a driver enters an intersection with a traffic light after the light turns red, the driver runs the red light. An accident can happen if a driver runs a red light, especially if they are speeding. There are some situations when a driver does not have to enter the intersection after the traffic light turns red to commit a traffic violation.

If a driver tries to make a right turn on red but does not come to a complete stop before proceeding, they have violated traffic rules. You may have seen drivers in the intersection after the light turns. They may be waiting to make a left-hand turn. In that circumstance, those drivers are not running a red light. Most states will not issue a citation for a driver that is making a left turn after the light turns red.

Who Runs Red Lights?

Any driver can run a red light. Unfortunately, running red lights is common on all roads, whether the road is busy or not. Traffic cameras have decreased the likelihood of a driver running a red light, but it is still a significant problem. The statistics on drivers who run red lights are as follows:

  • The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that in recent years more than 86 percent of drivers thought that running a red light is dangerous. Despite thinking that running a red
  • light is dangerous, 31 percent of respondents reported that they ran a red light in the previous month.
  • Recent data has shown that in previous years, red light crashes that ended in death usually involved young and male drivers. These drivers also tended to have at least one conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol on their record.
  • Red light crashes often involved drivers that were speeding before impact. Drivers that have a history of breaking the speed limit are more likely to run red lights. It is harder to stop a car that is moving at high speed, and the combination of high speed and running a red light can lead to a bad accident.

Running Red Lights and the Beginning of Red-Light Traffic Cameras

We have all tried to beat a red light. Most of us have probably run a red light by accident or intentionally. Our choice to run the red light could have resulted in an accident that changed the course of our lives or the lives of others on the road around us. In 2019, across the United States, 846 people died in traffic accidents caused by a driver that ran a red light. To prevent more of these tragedies, law enforcement agencies across the country have begun to rely on red light cameras to catch drivers who run red lights.

Increasing traffic safety was the primary consideration that leadership in cities and states across the country accounted for when they decided to begin using red-light traffic cameras. Strict enforcement of traffic laws helps reduce the number of red-light violations. Nowadays, a cop does not need to see you for you to get a ticket for running a red light.

When drivers knew they would get a ticket for running a red light, the number of violations decreased. However, most cities did not have the resources to monitor traffic. Since police officers cannot monitor every intersection to ensure drivers do not run red lights, traffic cameras have become more commonplace across the country.

How Do Red-Light Cameras Work?

Red-light cameras are located near traffic lights. The camera and the traffic light are connected to sensors. The sensors track traffic flow and automatically take pictures of vehicles that run red lights. Red-light cameras operate all the time, and you can get caught by one during the day or at night. Depending on the state, you may get a few seconds between the light change and the picture getting snapped.

How Are Drivers Punished After They Are Caught by Red-Light Cameras?

Cities and states use red-light traffic cameras to increase traffic enforcement without using more police officer resources. A ticket gets issued if a person gets caught on camera running a red light. Each state has a punishment structure if a driver gets caught running a red light on camera. In some states, the city will presume that the vehicle’s owner ran the light, and the ticket is issued to them.

If the owner was not driving, they can dispute the ticket. Some states, like New York, treat red-light camera tickets like parking citations. Under this system, however, the vehicle owner is always responsible for the ticket despite who was driving. Tickets are only issued if the camera captures the vehicle.

Typically, trained police officers review the pictures from red-light cameras and issue tickets to violators. Sometimes, citizens are authorized to review images taken by red-light traffic cameras. In many states, you will not get points on your license if you get a red-light traffic camera ticket because states do not treat red-light camera tickets as moving violations. Most states do not push for car insurance if a driver receives a red-light traffic camera violation.

Every state must have an avenue for appealing a red-light camera ticket. Examples of grounds for appeal include:

  • There are missing warning signs (like stop signs) that should have been there according to the law of the jurisdiction.
  • The vehicle entered the intersection so an emergency vehicle could get through traffic quickly.
  • The car was stolen.

Are Red Light Cameras Effective?

Red light cameras are effective. The use of red-light cameras increases safety and reduces the number of accidents every place they are installed. Various studies have found the following:


  • Large cities with traffic cameras are less likely to have a more significant number of traffic crashes than large cities without cameras.
  • As traffic light cameras became more prevalent, traffic accidents decreased by 40 percent.
  • Despite not having a red-light camera, reducing traffic accidents caused by drivers who ran red lights was significant.
  • The positive effect continued for years beyond the initial installation of red-light cameras. Red-light violations decreased after the traffic light began monitoring drivers and issuing tickets after one year. Each year, the number of violations decreased.
  • As a result of red-light cameras being installed across large cities, crashes at intersections decreased by 29 percent.
  • An estimated 13 percent-29 percent reduction in injury-causing crashes occurred after installing traffic cameras.
  • Right-angle crashes were reduced by 25 percent.
  • Traffic cameras reduced the number of front-into-side collisions (the most common type of crash at intersections).

Even with advancements in technology like traffic cameras, accidents happen daily across the state. When accidents happen, you need a lawyer on your side. The talented legal team at Arash Law has been successfully helping accident victims across the state. In our decades of experience, we have collected over $500 million in compensation for injury victims.

We want to help you, too. Call us at (888) 488-1391 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

What About Privacy?

Despite reducing red-light traffic accidents in many cities, some citizens want the cameras gone. An automated camera that monitors activity on public roads does not violate individual privacy. Another example of a camera that records public activity and does not violate personal privacy is a security monitor in a public place, like grocery stores. CCTV cameras that monitor activity on the street also fall into this category.

Some people continue arguing that traffic cameras violate a driver’s privacy rights. While the concern is well-taken in most circumstances, a city that chooses to use traffic cameras does not violate its citizens’ right to privacy. Getting a license is not a right, and drivers that get a license must submit to the rules of the road.

Privacy concerns are the strongest argument that opponents of red-light cameras. Their concerns are outweighed by the need for increased safety and continuing safety measures on the road. Most cities kept their red-light traffic camera programs, but a few states let them lapse. States that no longer have active red-light camera programs have seen an increase in the number of accidents caused by drivers running red lights.

What Happens When Traffic Camera Programs Are Discontinued?

The data suggests that there is a correlation between ending red-light traffic camera programs and an increase in the number of traffic accidents, especially in large cities. From 2010-2014, fourteen cities stopped their programs and saw a 30 percent increase in the number of accidents caused by drivers that ran red lights. It was clear that if there was no immediate punishment for their actions, drivers took more chances while on the road.

In the last ten years, the number of red-light traffic programs across the country has decreased. Here are some reasons that cities and states typically give when they shut down their programs:

  • Community opposition to having cameras record them as they use public roads
  • The financial viability of the program appears to be unsustainable
  • Fewer traffic citations were issued

Community support for cameras allowed for the red-light camera program’s longevity in many cities across the country. Some major cities that implemented traffic light camera programs and found success include:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Seattle
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • New Orleans

Government agencies maintain public support by addressing the privacy issue. Public officials have worked to gain acceptance and support for the use of traffic cameras. A survey completed in recent years found that fourteen major cities that kept public support for traffic red-light cameras high allowed for the safety advantages that result from the use of traffic cameras.

Signal Timing

The time between yellow lights and when they change to red should be increased to help decrease the number of traffic accidents caused by running red lights. However, just adjusting how long a light remains yellow does not itself reduce the harm caused by traffic accidents. Both increasing yellow light time and using red light cameras result in decreasing traffic accidents at intersections with traffic lights.

How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Car Accident?

If you get into a car accident with a driver that ran a red light, call an attorney immediately. Accident victims that are not represented by attorneys tend to have less favorable results in terms of compensation. An experienced accident attorney can help your case in the following ways:


Building Your Case

Your attorney will help you build your case. They will learn your story inside and out to make sure that how you tell it is compelling and ultimately gets you the money that you need to recover.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies

Your attorney will talk to the opposing insurance company for you. When your attorney speaks on your behalf, you will likely get better results for your case. You will avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that unrepresented accident victims make, like not getting compensated fully for current and future damages.

Protecting Your Claim From Dismissal on Technical Grounds

There are many rules that must be followed in car accident cases. Personal injury lawyers know the rules of civil procedure, evidence, and the local rules of court, and it is a part of their job to make sure that your claim complies with these rules.

Assist You Throughout the Lawsuit

There are various stages of a lawsuit, and you need an attorney to help you at each stage. One example is depositions. A deposition is a formal testimony in an informal setting. During it, the opposing attorney will ask you questions about the case. Your attorney will prepare you to answer the questions so that you protect your legal interests.

If you and your attorney are unable to reach a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. Your attorney will thoroughly prepare you for all stages of trial and represent you in front of a judge or jury. It may be tempting to represent yourself at trial, but it is wise to have an experienced attorney on your side as you fight for your rights.

Answering Your Questions

Your legal team is your partner throughout the lawsuit. If you have questions, your attorney can answer them, and you can benefit from their experience. There is no reason for you to approach a car accident lawsuit alone. If you have suffered an injury in an accident, call an attorney today.

Call Arash Law Today

The attorneys at Arash Law have decades of experience getting our clients results. We have recovered over $500 million in compensation for accident victims across the state that need the money to recover fully. If you hire Arash Law, you can trust that we will take care of the legal side of things while you focus on healing from your injuries.

In our decades of experience, we have helped people and their families put their lives back together after an accident. We want to help you, too. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 to schedule a free consultation today.

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DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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