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Suncoast Drivers: Running Red Lights Can Have Catastrophic Consequences

When you are running late, red lights will catch you by surprise adding time to your trip. Sometimes it seems as though you have to sit at each red light for long periods of time delaying your driving time. Could it hurt to run just one red light from time to time?

Realistically speaking, it is a dangerous practice and can have deadly consequences even if you only run a red light periodically. If you fail to yield to oncoming traffic when you come to a red light you increase the likelihood that you could be in a fatal accident astronomically. You will be responsible for any injuries or property damage that occurred from your actions.

Why Running A Red Light Is So Common

Quite often people feel hurried or impatient and do not want to wait on the light. Is it worth risking your life to arrive at your destination just a few minutes sooner? The action of flying through an intersection could cause a horrible or devastating car accident and potentially kill everyone in the car. People may also believe that when no one is paying attention it is worth taking the risk. Being reckless at the expense of others is a dangerous practice that could result in many people losing their lives and is never worth it.

Running a red light is the leading cause of most serious car accidents. A large percentage, almost 56 percent of drivers admit to running them part of the time. Many times drivers run red lights when they have just turned red or when other cars are taking too long through the intersection.

Speeding Causes More Red Light Running

Most red light running is caused when the driver does not slow down and speeds through the intersection after it has turned red. Speeding is another violation that is also occurring while a person is choosing to run a red light. Speeding increases the amount of time it takes to stop and decreases the reaction window for someone to stop thus leading to actually running the red light.

Speeding makes it difficult to judge whether it is better to fly through the intersection or slam on your brakes. Flying through the intersection increases your chances of a catastrophic collision with oncoming cross traffic. This is a split-second decision that is made by the driver and getting this wrong could result in a catastrophic collision.

Distraction Or Impairment

Sometimes there is no deliberate decision being made about the traffic light. The driver has just failed to see that the light is in fact red. This can happen when:

• Drivers lose awareness of the Road and What Is Happening
• Drivers Pay Attention To Distractions Rather Than Driving
• Drivers Are Operating Under The Influence of alcohol or drugs
• The Location Of The Light Makes It Difficult To Respond In Time

No matter the reason behind the action, running red lights increases the chances of getting into a collision while driving. Even when there is a reason behind the action such as a life or death emergency, one should not risk everything just to get through an intersection faster.

There is always a chance of having a catastrophic collision when crossing an intersection so drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and follow the rules of driving. This will ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely.

Drivers Think Twice: Running A Red Light Is Dangerous

When making that last-minute split-second decision few drivers comprehend the life-altering consequences that are involved. Making a mistake at a red light could lead to a driver running into a pedestrian or having a terrible car accident.

Potential Consequences Of Running Red Lights:

Running a red light increases the chances of significant injury more than any other accident. Moving through an intersection at an increased speed adds to the danger. Running a red light could lead to a “t-bone” collision where one car hits the side of another car. These types of collisions can lead to severe or fatal injuries to the passengers of the other car if you run a red light. There are no zones of protection on the sides of a car. This increases the chances that a collision could cause injury or death to the occupants of the car being struck.

Increased Risk Of Fatalities Results:

In the state of Florida drivers who run red lights caused 85 fatalities in 2019 along with 903 serious injuries, 3,680 minor injuries, and 6,945 possible injuries according to the statistics compiled by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle report. Across the country, there are more than 800 deaths annually from running red lights. Also, more than 200,000 people are injured each year when running a red light.

Red Light Running Is Aggressive Driving:

Aggressive driving can increase a driver's risk for sanctions and criminal penalties when they exhibit this behavior. Also, the cost for getting fined when running a red light can cost as much as $158, with the fine impacting you much more if you have caused an accident.

Types Of Car Accidents Injuries From Running Red Lights

Whenever a driver runs a red light they increase the chances of a severe collision leading to injury. Depending on the severity of the collision, many drivers who run red lights can suffer severe bodily injury. The following are examples of different types of injuries that can be suffered from running red lights.

• Injuries to Soft tissue
• Injuries to Internal Organs
• Injuries to the Shoulders
• Injuries to the Facial Structure
• Injuries to the Knee
• Injuries to the Back and Neck
• Trauma to the Brain (TBI)
• Injury to Bones and Soft Cartilage

If Running A Red Light Causes An Auto Accident:

If running a red light causes an accident this is deemed as breaching duty of care and may cause you to be liable in the event of an accident. If you are the driver you have the duty to drive in a manner that respects others and keeps them safe from accidents. If you breach this duty then you will be legally liable for any damage that results from an auto accident.

If you cause an accident by running a red light the following consequences may occur.

Running A Red Light Violates Your Duty Of Care To Others On The Road

If you run a red light you will be legally held responsible for an auto accident. It does not matter if the light has just turned red as you were driving through the intersection. If you violate the law and run a red light then you are not following your duty of care to others on the road. You will be found to be at fault or partially at fault for an accident and the injury that it caused.

Those Harmed Will Seek Compensation Through Your Liability Policy

Anyone who has been harmed by you from running a red light will want compensation through your liability insurance policy. If the other driver carries personal injury protection insurance that driver's insurance will likely cover the first $ 10,000 of that driver’s medical bills and lost time at work. Your own insurance will likely be responsible for paying for the policy’s limits. You may then be held responsible for the rest of the compensation.

You May Lose Your Auto Insurance Coverage

After a serious accident that you may have been involved in within a three-year time period, your insurance may choose not to cover you. Your insurance premiums may also increase even if you are able to hold on to your insurance carrier.

You May Face Criminal Prosecution

You may receive a traffic violation or be criminally prosecuted if you run a red light that causes an accident. There may also be criminal charges brought against you if anyone was seriously injured due to your accident. Criminal charges may also be brought against you if someone was killed. All these circumstances could lead to the loss of your driver’s license, loss of employment or even loss of your freedom.

Measures Taken By The State Of Florida To Reduce Running A Red Light

In order to reduce the number of people who run red lights administrators and government officials have taken drastic measures. The following measures have been employed to help aid lawmakers in reducing the number of collision deaths from red light running.

Traffic Cameras are used at intersections to help monitor where traffic violations occur. These cameras reduce red light running as much as 67 percent. In many cases, it has been suggested that this strategy may actually increase the number of collisions that occur because people slam on their brakes in order to avoid getting a red-light ticket. The difference is that these types of accidents are much less serious than an accident where someone has run a red light. Thus making it worthwhile for cities to install these cameras to ticket red-light runners.

The state has also changed the amount of time a light stays yellow in an effort to help reduce red-light running. The length of a yellow light is based on many different factors. A yellow light is intended to give drivers in the center of an intersection time to move through the intersection before the traffic starts flowing again. Drivers need time to observe the flow of traffic around them. The length of a yellow light does not change the number of those who are likely to run red lights. Even if the number of times increases for a yellow light drivers will adapt to this change and they will be just as likely to run the red light anyway.

The ultimate decision is for a driver to act responsibly. Lawmakers and others may make laws and influence change but the ultimate choice lies in the hands of the drivers at the wheel.

How To Avoid Accidents At Red Lights

While there are no guarantees to avoiding an accident at a red light there are ways to decrease the odds of falling victim to red light running. Drivers should follow rules and precautions for avoiding car accidents at red lights. Here are some rules for drivers to follow to avoid getting into an accident at a red light.

Break the habit of accelerating when you see a yellow light. Instead, slow down and stop immediately when you come to a yellow light. This will help you to remember that a red light is a safety tool that will help you keep yourself safe and maintain the traffic flow.

Drive your car at a reasonable speed so that when you observe a yellow light you will be able to stop appropriately. You must remember that a red light is a safety tool that helps keep drivers safe while maintaining the traffic flow.

To avoid speeding make sure you leave the house on time so that you are not running late or feel the need to speed. Drivers that speed on occasion are less likely to slow down at a yellow light or stop in time at a red light.

Pause and wait after the light turns green. Count for three seconds before moving through the intersection and look both ways before you proceed. This will give you time to account for drivers who may still be driving through the intersection.

Pay attention to the flow of traffic around you. Some drivers may ignore paying attention to what is going on at a red light. Instead, pay attention to the flow of traffic. Are there drivers who are behaving aggressively? This may increase the chances that they might run a red light.

How Do Red Light Cameras Work In The Port Charlotte Area?

Each Intersection is outfitted with a high-definition video camera. These cameras are activated by sensors which are located at the intersection. The cameras are activated when a vehicle is detected by the sensors after the light has turned red. The camera takes a video clip of each violation from which 3 still shots are captured. The program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operates in all weather conditions. The system is only activated when a vehicle runs a red light. All intersections with red light cameras are clearly marked. The city of Port Charlotte Police department reviews every violation before the Notice Of Violation is issued. A notice of violation contains an image of a violating vehicle before it enters the intersection, while it is in the intersection and the license plate of the vehicle.

A Notice Of Violation for a Red Light Infraction is issued when your vehicle fails to stop at a clearly marked stop line or at any other stopping point described in the ordinance when facing a steady red signal.

The owner of a motor vehicle is liable for payment of a statutory penalty of the amount of the fine in the Port Charlotte area. There are no points assessed for this violation and it does not appear on your driving record.

If you fail to pay the notice of violation, a Uniform Traffic Citation will be issued via certified mail and the fine will increase to a high amount for the Port Charlotte area, still no points will be assessed to your driving record.

You must pay the civil penalty on or before the due date on your notice of violation. The due date is located at the top of your Notice of Violation.

Active Red Light Cameras In North Port Florida

• Toledo Blade and Price
• Sumter and Price
• US 41/Tamiami Trail and Ortiz Boulevard / Talon Bay Drive
• US 41/Tamiami Trail and Biscayne Drive
• US 41/Tamami Trail and South Pan American Boulevard
• US 41/Tamami Trail and North Port Boulevard
• US 41/Tamami Trail and Tuscola Boulevard
• US 41/Tamami Trail and Sumter Boulevard
• US 41/Tamami Trail and Sumter Crossing
• US 41/Tamami Trail and Salford Boulevard

Active Red Light Cameras In Port Charlotte Florida

• 1742 N I-75 (on the highway at Yorkshire Street overpass)
• 1722 S I-75 Kings Highway (on the highway at Yorkshire Street overpass)
• Veterans Boulevard / Raintree Boulevard
• US 41 / Tamami Trail and Veterans Boulevard
• US 41 / Tamami Trail and Murdock Circle
• US 41 / Edgewater Drive
• US 41 / Bayshore Road
• US 41 / Midway Boulevard
• US 41 / Harbor Boulevard