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Arizona has the Highest Rate in the Country for Deaths Caused by Drivers Running Red Lights

Posted On 08/29/19

According to NBC News, the number of people killed by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high and Arizona is the state with the highest rate of running red-light deaths in the country. AAA is advising drivers and pedestrians to use attentiveness at traffic signals. In 2017, the latest figures available, 939 people were killed by vehicles blowing through red lights, according to a AAA study of government crash data.  It’s the highest death toll since 2008 and 28% higher than in 2012.

AAA says one person is killed every 12 hours every day in the U.S. by drivers who don’t stop for the signals.

AAA isn’t sure why the numbers are on the rise or why they have increased at a far higher rate than global U.S. roadway deaths.  Brian Tefft, senior researcher for the AAA Foundation said “More people are driving more miles since the Great Recession but that doesn’t explain why red-light deaths are increasing at a faster rate” In addition, he said he suspects distracted driving plays a role, as did traffic lights that weren’t timed optimally, perhaps with a yellow caution cycle that’s too short.

Since 2012 the total number of highway fatalities rose 10%, far short of the 28% increase in red-light running deaths.

What can drivers do to stay safe

“I wish we had a better answer than we do,” he said, adding that the answer was beyond the scope of the data in the study of fatal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also says drivers should prepare to stop as they are entering an intersection and tap their brakes while approaching a light to warn other drivers of a possible stop.

AAA also recommends waiting a second after a light changes to green before going on and checking to make sure crossing traffic has stopped.  For pedestrians and cyclists, taking a few seconds to make sure traffic has stopped before crossing a street. It also says to be noticeable, make eye contact with drivers and stay alert by not wearing headphones while walking or riding.