You see this as you drive in North Texas all the time. You slow down and come to a stop when you see that the traffic light changes to yellow, then red. This is Driver’s Ed 101, not to mention common sense. But another driver — often a young man in an oversized truck — guns it and blazes through the intersection. We saw that happen as we were taking this photo. The problem is when someone — often in a smaller car coming from a side street — doesn’t or can’t see that truck. These red light runners are causing more and more fatal car crashes.
A new study reveals that this serious problem has reached a new high. Almost 1,000 people died at the hands of red light runners in 2017, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This was the fifth year in a row that this terrible number increased and there is no apparent end in sight.
And worse, the number of total traffic deaths is quickly approaching 40,000 a year in the country, another horrible statistic. In Texas, over 3,600 people lose their lives and 250,000 are injured each year in car and truck wrecks.
Why is this happening? Although more vehicles are on the road every year, we do not believe that is the reason.
There are too many people who choose to break basic traffic laws and drive through red lights. The study revealed that about one out of every three drivers admitted to have done this just in the last 30 days. We know because we handle a lot of red light running crash cases.
We think that people are more prone these days to think they can get away with this and have less regard for the safety of other drivers, let alone their own.
Then add in the huge number of SUVs and trucks that over half of drivers now drive here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a matter of style, not to mention survival. So bigger vehicles with more steel and higher hoods and larger frames and bigger bumpers are going to do more harm to other vehicles, especially smaller cars.
The AAA officials recommended that more red light cameras be installed to combat these reckless drivers. They correctly point out that police officers can’t be everywhere. Of course, Texas just did the exact opposite when the state legislature voted to ban red light cameras – after the Supreme Court had found them to be safe and legal.
It’s the worst combination for other drivers: a driver in a huge truck speeding through a traffic safety device with no regard for other vehicles he might crash into – and little if any chance of being punished. And these drivers are often uninsured or underinsured so your damages might not get paid in full if at all.
So this can be a recipe for disaster for North Texas motorists. It’s not fair that people like you who obey the laws should have to pay for the illegal actions of other drivers who choose to run red lights.
In addition, we see the number of distracted driving crash cases increase year after year. Smart phones, vehicle infotainment, and people with lower attention spans are to blame.
It’s the new norm that the guy next to you is also reading his Twitter feed or watching a game. Or that the woman behind you doesn’t notice that you are at a stop at a red light because she is texting her friend or applying makeup as she drives.
Most of the people who perish are innocent drivers who are not obeying the law and not driving while distracted
These horrible wrecks – we hate to use the euphenism “car accidents” – can be deadly. Or after the innocent driver’s head, neck, back and body are thrown into the door, window, steering wheel, or smashed into by an air bag exploding at 200 miles per hour, serious injuries can result.
These t-bone collisions can require ambulances, emergency rooms, doctors, physical therapy, prescriptions, and of course cause substantial pain. And that’s not counting the lost wages and disruption of your life and those of your family as you try to cope. You need help. Fast.