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Study: More drivers run red lights over Memorial Day

You might want to pay a little extra attention the next time you’re crossing through an intersection, even when you have the right-of-way on a green light, on holidays such as Memorial Day. According to a new study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, there are 27 percent more red light violations over Memorial Day weekend than an average weekend.

Why? It’s hard to say, but it may have to do with congested roads and drivers’ desire to get to their summer kickoff destination in a timely fashion. But the fact remains: There’s a heightened risk for serious car accidents when drivers run red lights. The most likely victims are people riding in cars that red light violators hit, or possibly pedestrians and bicyclists who are caught in the intersection.

In any case, running red lights is a serious problem in general. Back in 2009, when the most recent data was available, there were 676 deaths directly related to red light violations, along with about 130,000 injuries.

For the study, researchers looked at data from 142 areas in 18 different states. They found more than 2.3 million drivers ran red lights last year. If that number was reflected nationally, it would mean there are 1.2 red light violations every single second of the day.

For whatever reason, more violations occurred on Friday than other days, and over 30 percent of them occurred in the afternoon hours between 1 and 5 p.m.

Clearly, it’s a problem. Please drive carefully.

Source: USA Today, “Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says,” Charisse Jones, May 23, 2012

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