Red Light Runners Threaten Chicago’s Safety

Whether or not you drive in Chicago, odds are that you understand that vehicles must stop for red lights. Not stopping for a red light will allow a vehicle to enter an intersection when it is not safe to do so, often at the expense of oncoming traffic which may be subjected to a car accident just because of the first driver’s refusal to stop on red.

With the purpose of red lights considered to be common knowledge even among very young children, you might be tempted to think that this rule is rarely, if ever, violated and that almost all drivers stop whenever they face a red. But the reality is far different from that thought with hundreds of thousands of collisions happening every year simply because someone failed to stop on red.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) estimates that 127,000 people were hurt and 697 people were killed across the country in 2013 in car accidents that involved a red light runner. Roughly half of the fatalities came from people inside other cars, pedestrians, and cyclists as opposed to the driver that ran the red light or someone inside that driver’s vehicle. In addition to those who were hurt and killed, their families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors all suffered from the fallout of these collisions and entire communities were harmed by a loss or injury to one of their own and the damages may have been too great for a recovery to happen. Running red lights and/or stop signs are believed to be the biggest cause of traffic accidents in urban settings, accounting for approximately 22 percent of all collisions, and when a red light or a stop sign is ignored, collisions produce injuries roughly 39 percent of the time.

Any type of driver can and sometimes will run a red light but some characteristics make a motorist more likely than others to ignore a red. Being young, male, having multiple speeding convictions, limited use of a seat belt, and having prior convictions related to drinking and driving were all factors that seemed to make a driver more likely to run a red based on a study conducted by the IIHS.

Chicago sees its fair share of red light car accidents every year and it experiences the totality of the damages that stem from these incidents. The most tragic part is that it is often the innocent who are left to suffer, those who obeyed the traffic laws but were harmed when someone else failed to stop on red. Red light cameras have been instituted during some times and in some locations across the city but it is not clear whether those cameras are improving safety or simply just generating revenue by issuing tickets to red light runners. In conjunction with the installation of cameras, yellow lights were shortened in many intersections with some expressing the belief that the cameras will and are causing a greater number of rear-end car accidents as a result.

If you find yourself the victim of a car accident in Illinois or is someone you love is injured or killed in a crash, make sure you understand all of your legal options, including whether you have the right to obtain relief for your damages. If you have questions, know that the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where we offer all injury victims a case consultation without cost or obligation.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., all of our attorneys believe in fighting for the rights of traffic accident victims and if you were hurt, we want to fight for you. Call us today and let us help you move beyond an accident and toward a path of relief.

Prior Blog Entry:

Car Safety Features that Can Save Your Life, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published February 17, 2016.


Red light running, Camera enforcement works to curb this dangerous behavior, IIHS, published May 2015.

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