Many New Yorkers will come home to Albany after having spent the Memorial Day holiday away, but there may be some people who were seriously injured while on the road this past weekend. Memorial Day is not just known for remembering the brave sacrifices that our veterans have made, but it is also the holiday that sees the highest number of people running red lights. While this may seem harmless, running a red light can cause a serious car accident.
The holiday with the second-highest rate of red lights run is Independence Day, nearly 1,000 violations fewer than Memorial Day. A former acting administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that one of the biggest reasons that drivers are likely to run a red light is because they don't want to wait for the light to turn. Many times, the drivers will have to wait for the light to turn green and as they finally approach the intersection, the light turns yellow and then red, forcing them to wait another cycle.
Sadly, when drivers do run red lights, they put numerous other motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians at risk of serious injury or death. The most recent data shows that approximately 676 people died after someone ran a red light in 2009; over 130,000 people were also injured. Most of the time, it is not the driver who ran the red light who dies.
Though there are many different options that can reduce the number of people running red lights, both on Memorial Day and throughout the year, it is ultimately up to drivers to prevent serious car accidents.
Source: USA Today, "Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says," Charisse Jones, May 23, 2012