H-SANTA MARIA

Aug 7, 2013 7:41 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Santa Maria Police focus attention on red-light collisions

The Santa Maria Police Department is working to combat the issue of red-light collisions. In just the past two months, there have been a rash of car crashes caused by drivers running red lights.

The driving laws in California are clear: green means go, and red means stop, but, police said red-light collisions in the city of Santa Maria still make up for about 5% of crashes in the city each year.

Traffic Sergeant Jesus Valle said, "I think we attribute it a lot to just driver inattention, people in a hurry to get to places."

Valle said while 5% may sound like a small number, the damage from a red-light collision can be very serious.

"Oh, it's definitely an issue because you're typically gonna have a broad side collision, which results in more serious injury than other side swipes or rear end collisions," said Valle.

There was a car crash on Monday at the intersection of Skyway and Fairview because of a driver flying through a red light. Valle said the victims in the crash are expected to be fine.

However, not everyone walks away so lucky. Candles still adorn the intersection of Broadway and McCoy for 18-year old Jade Dodson who died in June after a driver ran a red light and slammed into the car in which she was a passenger.

Valle said, "It all relates to excessive speed. It all boils down to that."

Valle suggests drivers watch their speed. He said the Santa Maria Police Department is stepping up their enforcement at all intersections and roadways in the city, but he said drivers' ability to stay alert is key in helping to prevent crashes as well.

"Just be a little more cognizant when they're stopped at a red light, and when they get the green light, take that extra second or two to make sure that nobody is going through that intersection before you proceed through," said Valle.

The Santa Maria Police Department said it plans on teaming up with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office for a one-mile walk to honor and remember victims who lost their lives in traffic crashes.

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