The American Automobile Association (AAA) has released some sad news: The number of people killed by drivers running red lights is at a 10-year high. AAA is urging drivers and pedestrians to use caution at traffic signals.
AAA says two people die every day in the United States in accidents caused by drivers who don’t stop for red lights. “Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” says David Yang, executive director of AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Brian Tefft, senior researcher for the AAA Foundation, suspects that distracted driving plays a role in the higher numbers. He also thinks poorly timed traffic lights—like a yellow caution cycle that’s too short—may also be partly to blame.
“I wish we had a better answer than we do,” Tefft says.
The automobile club recommends that state and local governments increase their use of red light cameras and that authorities directly supervise them.
AAA offers this advice to drivers:
• Prepare to stop when entering an intersection.
• Tap the brakes while approaching a light to warn other drivers of a possible stop.
• Wait a second after a light changes to green before starting to drive.
• Check to make sure cross traffic has stopped.
For pedestrians and cyclists, AAA also advises taking a few seconds to make sure traffic has stopped before crossing a street. It says those on foot should make themselves visible and establish eye contact with motorists. As for headphones and earbuds: Stay alert by keeping them off while walking or riding.
(A motorist waits at a traffic light while the Moon rises in the distance in Overland Park, Kansas. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)