YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Distracted driving is on the increase and part of the fallout, among accidents and other traffic violations, are people running red lights.
According to AAA, drivers running red lights is at a 10-year high, resulting in about two deaths on a daily basis.
In 2017, The Foundation for Traffic Safety says 939 people were in killed in red light running crashes. That’s a 28 percent increase since 2012.
The data shows that Arizona has the highest rate of red light running fatalities. New Hampshire has the lowest.
While 85 percent of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, one in three say they have done it within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely. More than two in five drivers say it is unlikely they will be stopped by police for running a red light.
“The problem is drivers are distracted. They’re impatient and they are reckless. They are making the decision to run a red light instead of safely stopping,” said Doug Shupe, AAA spokesperson.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14 percent.
AAA says changes in driver behavior are also critical to reducing the number of red light crashes and offers these tips:
- 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.
AT&T is hosting a virtual reality simulator At the Canfield Fair to show the dangers of distracted driving.
The “It Can Wait” virtual simulator will be at the fair from Friday, Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.