Chilling IIHS video shows dangers of running a red light

IIHS reports that since 2000, the number of deaths in red-light running crashes declined on average until a low of 681 deaths in 2010, but has since climbed back up to 811 in 2016. (Image courtesy of MGN / Derek Jensen / Wikimedia)

Over 800 people died in vehicle accidents involving red light running in 2016, an increase of over 17 percent since 2012. Despite this, fewer communities across the country are using red light cameras at intersections.

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According to a list of guidelines released last month by the IIHS in cooperation with the AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the National Safety Council, there are a list of steps communities and drivers can take to improve safety at intersections, both for motorists and more vulnerable individuals like cyclists or pedestrians, who account for more than half the total deaths.


The checklist includes a list of recommendations for “planning, oversight and sustained public engagement,” and emphasizes that “the public supports red light camera enforcement, but support can erode when programs are poorly run, or perceived to be centered on generating revenue,” according to the release.

Since 2000, the number of deaths in red-light running crashes declined on average until a low of 681 deaths in 2010, but has since climbed back up to 811 in 2016. The harrowing video released by the Institute shows a 2010 Ford F-150 striking a 2007 Chrysler Sebring directly in the side, a simulation of a real crash in Yuma, Arizona, in 2012 in which the Sebring’s driver was severely injured.

A map of state-level red light and speed camera programs across the country shows there’s still work to be done. Over half of all states still fail to use red light cameras, and only 15 make use of both red light and speed cameras. According to the report, only 421 communities across the U.S. had red light camera programs in July of this year, down from 533 in 2012.

As the video goes to show, even if the light is green, use caution at high speed intersections. It could make all the difference.

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