Ever notice how that when find yourself stuck at a traffic light, other motorists often appear to be using their cellphones? While West Virginia has laws in place intended to prevent motorists from using handheld phones while driving, many drivers ignore them. This is one of several reasons why red-light traffic deaths are spiking considerably across the nation.
According to the Pocono Record, red-light traffic fatalities nationwide have reached a 10-year high, with an average of two people losing their lives every day in the United States because other drivers run red lights.
Just how many people die in preventable red-light car crashes? In 2017, 939 people lost their lives because other drivers ran red lights, which is a 28% jump from 2012. While West Virginia saw 17 traffic deaths result from drivers running red lights between 2008 and 2017, neighboring Pennsylvania saw 251 within that same period.
Also, in many cases, the victims in red-light car wrecks are not, in fact, the offenders who ran through the red lights in the first place. In almost half off all cases, those killed were either people traveling in other vehicles or people walking or bicycling through the intersection. The victims of red-light wrecks are the offending drivers in only about 35% of all cases.
Statistics also show that, while the majority of drivers, or about 85% of them, agree that blowing through red lights is extremely dangerous, about a third of all drivers say that they have blown through a red light within the past 30 days. Furthermore, more than two out of every five motorists say they think it is unlikely that authorities will stop them for running red lights.
Even if you consistently and carefully follow traffic signals, you still run the risk of suffering an injury or fatality because of the negligence of red-light runners. Therefore, you should take care to always practice defensive driving, particularly when making your way through intersections with traffic signals.