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Deaths resulting from red light runners reaches 10-year high

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 29, 2019

According to a AAA study, 939 people were killed in red light running crashes in 2017, a 10-year high.

AAA also says the number of deaths related to red light runners has seen a 28 percent increase since 2012.

For many people in Santa Maria, seeing drivers run red lights is a common occurrence.

"I know that I can sit at Broadway and Betteravia every day and watch at least one or two at every red light," said Acting Sgt. Philip Dix, Santa Maria Police Department.

According to Santa Maria police, nine of the 122 injury collisions this year have been due to traffic light violations.

"Unfortunately, red light running crashes is a growing traffic safety problem on roads all across the country," said Doug Shupe, Spokesperson for the Automotive Club of Southern California. "According to new data analysis by the AAA Traffic Foundation for Safety, more than two people die on U.S. roads each and every day because someone runs a red light."

According to the AAA Foundation's latest crash data analysis, approximately half of those killed in red light running crashes are passengers. About 35 percent of those killed were the drivers who ran the red light and close to five percent are pedestrians.

"Violations of people running red lights is very common. I think most people in the city have sat at a red light and seen one if not more violations at a single red light, so it's definitely a common occurrence here in town," Sgt. Dix said.

AAA also says that a large majority of drivers realize running red lights is very dangerous, but about one in every three people say they have done it when they had plenty of time to stop.

aaa red light running graphic.png

While law enforcement and traffic cameras are effective ways to capture and even stop people from blowing through an intersection, AAA says people should also change their driving behaviors.

"It is really important that we all just pause just for a second to look both ways to make sure everyone is stopping at those red lights like they should," Shupe said.

According to AAA, as of this past July, 341 communities in 21 states plus the District of Colombia operated red light automated enforcement programs. In 2012, that number was slightly higher with 533 communities taking part.