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Red Light Reality: Why Drivers Must Stop at Red Lights

By Joshua Ferraro, Partner 

Every year, nearly 1,000 people hear a knock on the front door only to be greeted by a police officer with news that their lives are forever changed. Every year, nearly 1,000 mothers, fathers and children are forced to go through the gruesome reality of identifying a body, notifying family and planning a funeral. Every year, nearly 1,000 people are killed because a red light was run – and for some reason, nearly 10% of those people live right here in Florida. 

According to a study conducted by AAA, 85% of drivers believe that running a red light is dangerous, and yet 33% of them did it anyway within the past 30 days.

This alarming inconsistency begs two questions. First, who are the 15% that somehow don’t believe that running a red light is dangerous? Secondly, why are a third of the drivers on the road willing to take such a substantial risk?

Not surprisingly, the number one reason for running a red light boils down to simple impatience. With heavier traffic, longer lights and busier commutes, many people are taking the calculated (but bad) risk that that running a red light by just a second or two is worth it if it helps get them to work/school/Taylor Swift concerts/etc., on time.

Of course, they are likely viewing the risk as one of getting a ticket, not causing a death. Even more troubling than those who run a red light out of impatience are those who do so because they are so distracted by their phone that they don’t even notice it in the first place.

These days though, when you see someone run a red light it is often multiple seconds after it has changed. . . and at full speed while looking down. This magnifies the danger immensely because a distracted driver who doesn’t appreciate a danger is unlikely to brake, veer or skid in a way that can either avoid (or at least mitigate) an otherwise full-speed broadside collision at often high speeds.

This is why it is always a better course to wait . . . just a few seconds before proceeding through a green light. Doing so when you are first in line might (ok, will) annoy the people behind you and will almost certainly result in honks, but it will also give you time to look around, gain some situational awareness and make sure that no drivers are coming your way at full speed.

In other words, the best way to avoid a red-light collision may be to take responsibility away from the irresponsible driver. Obviously, this shouldn’t be necessary in the first place, but for every collision you avoid. . . there just might be one less knock at the front door next year.

If you are one of the thousands of people who are injured or have had a loved one injured or tragically killed by someone running a red light, the attorneys at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith are here to answer your questions and to help you preserve your rights. Call us today at 1-877-LAW-LLLS to speak with an attorney for a free consultation or visit us online at www.lesserlawfirm.com.

Palm Beach County: 561-655-2028
Martin County: 772-283-6839
Toll-Free: 1-877-LAW-LLLS

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