Running Red Lights: How to Solve a Dangerous Driver Issue

Drivers running red lights have continued to be one of the major safety concerns on roadways across America. While many organizations are currently seeking to solve this deadly roadway concern, no single organization can solve the entirety of the problem. It will require a coalition effort from drivers, educational organizations, the FMCSA, and more to really make a dent in the troubling statistics on red light accidents. 

In 2019, almost 900 people were killed in crashes that involved drivers running red lights. While we can all agree that number is tragic and far too high, ideas for solutions aren’t always as consensus. 

Before we can aim to solve an issue, we must first fully understand it. Why are problems at intersections occurring so frequently, and what can we do as a country to combat them? This blog intends to answer those questions. 

Where Is the Research Coming From?

We’ve already cited statistics from the IIHS regarding red light accidents, but you may be wondering how this information is gathered. While the death toll will obviously be an easier number to track, the report also cited how commonly drivers seem to be running these red lights. These statistics are gathered from reports on traffic issues from local residents. Anyone has the right to complain about too many vehicles running a red-light, and these reports tend to come from considered residents, neighbors, and parents. Police officers making traffic stops frequently at a particular intersection can also lead to a problem being identified. 

Once a problem is identified, a more complex form of problem-solving begins to take shape: traffic engineering analysis. In the process of traffic engineering analysis, engineers and city officials study rates of violations, crashes, and infractions at a certain intersection. If the statistics confirm a problem, then the next challenge begins; finding a solution.

What Kind of Solutions Exist?

Once studies have confirmed that a problem does indeed exist at a certain intersection, and the engineering study confirms it, it becomes time to address the issue. Civil engineers and city officials begin to brainstorm solutions. The most common solution for these types of problems includes redesigning the intersection, increasing law enforcement in the area, introducing safety programs, and changing the intersection completely. Each different strategy presents its own benefits, but none of the strategies are perfect. Each situation must be analyzed on a case by case basis to help towns and cities land on the perfect solution for themselves. 

Increasing law enforcement in the area is typically the first step in addressing the issue, but it isn’t a permanent solution. The presence of law enforcement in the area will ideally have drivers being much more cautious, but towns and cities can’t afford to utilize that many resources in one area. As a result, law enforcement is typically used as a band-aid as the intersection is either redesigned or changed completely.

As fatal accidents resulting from drivers running red-lights have continued to rise, solutions are more necessary than ever. The problem has been identified, and by using the solutions outlined in this article, the solution can be found.