National Stop On Red Week August 3-9, 2008

Red light running is a dangerous and costly traffic violation in our country. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2006 red light running produced 171,000 crashes, 144,000 injuries and approximately 887 deaths in the United States. Red light running is a serious problem with devastating consequences. Red light running alone not only costs Americans over $14 billion dollars every year but also costs us lives. Drivers who fail to stop at red lights increase their risk of hitting another vehicle or pedestrian causing major intersection congestion.

Out of 2,515 crashes that occurred in 2006 in Broome County, 105 of these crashes resulted from drivers disregarding traffic control. These 105 crashes resulted in 2 fatalities, 55 personal injuries and 48 property damages – statistics that are significantly higher than the previous year. This same problem exists throughout the state. In 2006, in New York State, 201,606 crashes occurred with approximately 9,552 crashes resulting from traffic control signal disregard. This resulted in 83 fatalities, 7,074 injuries and 2,395 property damages (www.safeny.com).

The National Stop on Red Week campaign has been established to educate drivers about the dangers of red light running, to re-establish respect for traffic signals, to enhance the safety of our nation's drivers and pedestrians, as well as to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from this problem. However, education is not the sole solution. In order to fully combat this problem enforcement and engineering efforts, such as issuing citations and red light cameras, are required.

The Broome County Traffic Safety Board is encouraging enforcement agencies to take an active part in this initiative by issuing citations for running a red light. "Running a red light is a form of aggressive driving. Both are avoidable and inexcusable," says Christine Muss, Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Broome County Health Department. "Red light running is a result of people being in a hurry. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and try to be a patient and attentive driver."

The Broome County Traffic Safety Board reminds motorists to remember these important rules when approaching intersections where there are traffic lights:

  • Slow down and prepare to stop when you see a yellow.
  • Always come to a complete stop and look both ways before turning right on red, unless a sign otherwise prohibits this, such as no turn on red.
  • Scan intersections and approach with caution, even if the light is green.
  • Yield to pedestrians. They have the right of way.

Safety is a shared responsibility. The Federal Highway Administration is responsible for building and maintaining safe roads but drivers must make smart decisions and be responsible on the road. For more information on National Stop on Red Week please visit the Federal Highway Administration website at safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ or The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running website at www.stopredlightrunning.com/index.html.