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Running red lights kills hundreds every year

Colorado road users are frequently killed or injured in accidents caused by motorists who run through a red light. Studies reveal that one in three people know an individual who was injured or killed in such an accident, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that 97 percent of drivers consider red light runners to be a serious hazard.

Accident data from NHTSA indicated that 762 road users were killed in 2008 in accidents involving a motorist who ran a red light, and about half of those killed were either the occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians. These motor vehicle accidents are so deadly because they often occur at high speeds and provide little opportunity for drivers to make emergency maneuvers.

Few will be surprised to learn that red light runners are often reckless individuals with little regard for their own safety. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorists who run red lights are frequently young men who choose not to wear safety belts and often have a record of speeding or drunk driving. Measures that have been found effective at reducing the number of red light runners include replacing traffic signals with roundabouts and lengthening the amount of time that traffic lights stay amber.

Running a red light is negligent behavior, and those who suffer injury, loss or damage due to this type of activity may want to pursue civil remedies for obtaining compensation for their losses from the at-fault motorists. Red light runners often claim that they had the right of way or the signalling equipment was faulty, but personal injury attorneys may be able to refute these claims by citing police reports, questioning witnesses or producing images captured by nearby security cameras. Many traffic signals also feature cameras that have been installed to record the license plate numbers of red light runners.

Source: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Red light running", May 2015

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