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Cameras catch more than 2.3 million drivers running red lights in 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 2.3 million drivers in
18 states ran a red light in 2011, according to the first-
ever “Safer Roads Report 2012: Trends in Red-
Light Running”
from the National Coalition for Safer
Roads.

And the most dangerous holiday for red light running is
Memorial Day with 26,787 red-light running violations in
2011 — a more than 27 percent increase in violations
than the average weekend.

“It’s the most dangerous weekend,” David Kelly, the
coalition’s president and a former acting administrator
for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told USA Today.

Kelly said it may have to do with the heavy congestion
that comes from trying to get to a holiday destination.
“So you see people sitting at a light and they may have to
wait for a cycle and they don’t want to wait for a second
cycle,” Kelly told USA Today. “So they go.”

The National Coalition for Safer Roads, an organization
that promotes the use of cameras to photograph and fine
red light violations, released a press release on Friday
that included highlights from the report:

  • Christmas Day had the lowest number of red-light
    running violations in 2011, with 3,859 total —
    nearly 40 percent less than the average daily violation
    total.
  • Friday proved to be the worst day for
    intersection safety in 2011 — red light cameras
    caught 378,122 total red-light running violations —
    while Sunday saw the fewest violations, with 289,603
    total.
  • Drivers most frequently ran red lights in
    the afternoon, with 30.7 percent (719,702) of all red-
    light running violations in 2011 occurring from 1 p.m. – 5
    p.m.

The report said the data was gathered
from red-light “safety” cameras in 142 areas in 18 states.
The cameras recorded 2,341,761 red light violations, but
this is not even the total amount of run lights in those
states. This is just a sampling that can show, like a
survey, when red lights are run the most.

And the data shows, as the report warned, “there is no
time on the road when you are not at risk of encountering
a red-light violator.”

A 2005 ABC
News story
looked at red light cameras and found
intersections that used the cameras saw a “40 percent
decrease in violations on average.” On the other hand, the
story also said a study by the Texas Transportation
Institute concluded “that extending a yellow light by 1.5
seconds would decrease red-light-running by at least 50
percent.”

Kelly told USA Today the best way to end the accidents
caused by red light running is to change intersections to
roundabouts, because nobody can run a roundabout.

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com
TWITTER: @degroote
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