Even though yellow lights are an international sign to slow down, who among us hasn’t made a bold push through a yellow to avoid getting stuck at an intersection? While unsafe, it happens — often without consequences. But if you’ve made it a habit, you may be familiar with the awful feeling of seeing a flash out of the corner of your eye as you think you beat the red light. And just like that, you have a ticket from a red-light camera.
Red-light cameras can be a point of contention between local governments and drivers when thought of as a means of revenue instead of safety, as the former is often accused of doing. Sometimes, the criticism seems fair; in 2014, for example, Chicago had the U.S.’s largest red-light system paired with the shortest allowable yellow lights, a recipe both for red-light violations and rear-end collisions resulting when motorists try to avoid the devices.
Red-Light Crashes Kill
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 92.9 percent of drivers viewed driving through a stoplight that has just turned red as unacceptable behavior. Even so, 42.7 percent of drivers admitted to having done just that in the past 30 days.
When it comes down to it, running a red light is dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 800 people died in crashes involving red-light running in 2016. More than half the people killed in red-light-running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles hit by the signal violators.