Firm-Wide blog

When Drivers Run Red Lights

By Burg Simpson
September 4, 2019
4 min read

When Drivers Run Red Lights

As a personal injury trial lawyer with Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, shareholder David P. Hersh is all too familiar with the consequences that follow when a driver runs a red light. Driving is a responsibility, and those who do not follow traffic laws put themselves and others at risk for serious injuries or even death.

Our fight to promote safe driving starts with each one of us before we get behind the wheel of a vehicle. We need to drive safely and work together to support each other in making a commitment to avoid distractions, pay attention to traffic laws, and “Just Drive.

Fatalities Have Increased

According to a recent analysis of government data by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatalities caused by drivers running red lights have increased more than 31% since 2009. Statistics now indicate that more than two people in the U.S. are killed every day by those who have failed to obey traffic lights. More than half of those who lost their lives were passengers and over a third of those killed were the drivers who did not stop for a red light.

Although the specific reasons for the increase in these deaths have yet to be determined, the AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson, said that “Distracted driving is likely a major contributor. Drivers distracted on their phones, pedestrians distracted when crossing intersections, are all reasonable contributing causes to what we see the data telling us.”

What Is Distracted Driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving. Diversions are anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. These include talking, texting, eating and drinking, interacting with other people in your vehicle, and/or focusing your attention on the vehicle’s stereo, entertainment or navigation system.

Focus on the Safety of Others

In a separate survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety regarding the running of red lights, other findings indicated that there is also a large percentage of drivers who run red lights who are not distracted. The survey discovered that about one-third of drivers admitted to willfully running a red light in the past  30 days despite the fact that the majority of the survey respondents agreed that the running of red lights represents a safety concern for everyone on our roadways.

Camera Enforcement

The AAA also noted that another contributing factor to traffic deaths due to the running of red lights is that more people are now driving greater distances in the last decade. The more people drive, the greater the possibility that they will be involved in an accident involving a driver who has run a red-light.

To reduce the instances of these kinds of tragedies, the AAA has put forth a recommendation for the installation of red-light cameras in high traffic intersections that have a history of crashes. These sites would be monitored by local law enforcement officials who would supervise the cameras.

Jessica Cicchino of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety commented on the AAA’s recommendation by saying, “Camera enforcement is a proven way to reduce red-light running and save lives.”

We all have a mutual responsibility to each other to share the road safely.  We need to pay attention to what we are doing so we can deal with unexpected events.  There simply is no excuse for running a red light – distracted or otherwise – and it is selfish and dangerous to put saving 30 seconds or not having to wait at the light ahead of the safety and well-being of our fellow travelers.  This trend must be reversed.” – David P. Hersh, Burg Simpson Trial Lawyer.

About David P. Hersh

Admitted to practice before the United States, Colorado, and Wyoming Supreme Courts, as well as numerous Federal Courts, Mr. Hersh has tried well over 145 civil jury trials to verdict throughout the United States. In addition, he has served as lead counsel in a substantial number of complex commercial litigation cases as well as a number of catastrophic personal injury cases, including cases involving claims for brain injury, paraplegia/quadriplegia, severe burns and disfigurement, and limb loss.

A skilled and experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Hersh excels in the courtroom, expertly handling all aspects of litigation through his creative problem solving, persuasive communication, and outstanding analytical skills. He believes that the benchmark of his success comes from his passion for the law and steadfast mission to be the best advocate possible for his clients.

David P. Hersh also has the distinction of being one of only fifteen Colorado attorneys who has attained the “Top Ten” status by Colorado Super Lawyers since 2015.

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