Because driving is so commonplace for many drivers in California and across the country, it may be easy to take for granted the variety of different traffic laws put into place to ensure that everyone can safely use the country’s roadways. Unfortunately, failure to obey traffic lights, for example, can come with tragic consequences. In fact, a recent study shows that the number of fatalities related to drivers running red lights is at the highest level in a decade.
According to reports, the number of people killed across the country by drivers who failed to obey traffic lights was 939 in 2017, the last year for which data is available. A review of government crash data found a 28% increase from 2008. The data reveals that two people are killed by drivers who do not stop at a traffic light as required by law every day in the United States.
Unfortunately, researchers are not able to fully explain the reasons for this increase. While there are drivers who are driving more miles on the roadways today (when compared to a decade ago), researchers say that this increase does not account for the increase. Researchers also theorize that distracted drivers and traffic lights that have a yellow light cycle that is too short may be factors.
Reports offer suggestions as to what those entering intersections — including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians — can do to further protect themselves from injury from someone who fails to stop at a red light. While it is important to be proactive when it comes to personal safety, the person at fault in such an accident is likely to be the driver who failed to stop as required by law. Unfortunately, fatalities that occur as the result of negligent drivers can leave surviving family members left to cope with the consequences of their unexpected loss. For many of these families in California, funeral costs, medical bills and lost wages create a volatile financial situation, prompting some to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties deemed responsible.