While traffic lights provide a sense of order on North Carolina roads, it is important to realize that human error or disobedience could lead to accidents in spite of good traffic management. Drivers could run a red light because they are running late. A distraction could also lead to missing a red light and running through an intersection. In some cases, cellphone use could draw a driver’s attention from the road, causing the motorist to take off prematurely while waiting for a signal change. Regardless of the reason for running a light, a driver who does so could cause serious damages to others.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that at least 2.3 million car accidents in 2008 occurred in intersection-related situations. Nearly 8,000 deaths resulted from these accidents, and more than 730,000 people were injured. Approximately 760 of these deaths occurred in red-light running scenarios, and it has been estimated that 165,000 people are injured each year due to red-light running. Those injured and killed by red-light accidents included both motorists and pedestrians. The perception of the population at large is that this is a serious traffic concern, and approximately one-third of people in a survey said that they had direct connections to individuals who had died or were injured because of red-light accidents.
More efficient enforcement of traffic laws could be helpful to those who are concerned with improving the safety of their roads. Technology has made it possible to penalize those who run red lights through camera enforcement. Posting officers at street corners to observe the use of wireless devices has gained traction as a method for minimizing distracted driving. Some drivers are able to better judge the anticipated change of a light with signals that count down the time until the change.
Automobile insurance sometimes provides a level of coverage for those who are injured in these types of crashes, but this is not always the case. As a result, an injured victim may want to obtain the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation from the negligent motorist.