Tag Archive for: traffic accidents

Pledge to Stop on Red

How often have you noticed another vehicle speeding past you or accelerating through a yellow light, only to find both of you waiting at the next stop?

Exceeding the speed limit to “beat the light” is illegal and could result in dire consequences.

According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, in 2013, 127,000 people were injured and 697 people were killed in accidents caused by red light runners. Between 2004 and 2012, more than 7,000 people were killed in accidents involving drivers running red lights.

In Arizona, red light running is a serious problem. The National Coalition for Safer Roads ranked cities with the highest number of fatalities due to red-light running from 2004-2013. Tucson ranked 9th and Phoenix ranked second on the list of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Red Light Running.

And like drivers in DUI accidents, the red light runner who causes a collision isn’t always the one most seriously injured. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that half the fatalities caused by red light runners are pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in other vehicles.

Who is the Typical Red Light Runner?

What driver is most likely to be running a red light? A 1996 study by the National Insurance Institute found that the red light runners were younger drivers who had poor driving records. In a 2013 study of red light running car crashes that involved fatalities, the Institute found that “the red light runners were more likely than other drivers to be male, to be younger, and to have prior crashes or alcohol-impaired driving convictions.”

Know the Red Light Rule in Arizona

Arizona applies the “permissive yellow rule” to red light running infractions. The Federal Highway Administration defines the rule as:

  • Driver can legally enter intersection during entire yellow interval
  • Violation occurs if driver enters intersection after onset of red

The ramifications of causing a car accident at an intersection can be catastrophic for its victims and result in serious consequences for the offending driver. A driver who is found to have been recklessly speeding through an intersection, running a red light and causing a fatal car accident puts himself at risk of being charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide.

Research on driver attitudes towards red light running shows that there’s a disconnect between what most drivers know they should be doing and what they actually do.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that although more than half of drivers interviewed agreed red light running is a “very serious threat” and more than 72% agreed it is “unacceptable,” more than a third of drivers admitted to running a red light in the previous 30 days.

Experts say that to stop red light running, drivers need to slow down, limit distractions, and stop on red. It may save lives.



Seniors Driving

Your freedom to drive is not dependent upon your age. But age-related declines can hamper your ability to drive as safely as you should.

Older drivers may notice gradual changes in their reaction time, hearing, vision, memory and alertness. Medication, stiff joints and changes in sleep can also affect driving. Any of these variables can lead to seniors driving errors with tragic consequences.

According to the National Institutes of Health, common mistakes older drivers make include:

  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to stay in their lane of traffic
  • Misjudging the time or distance needed to turn in front of traffic
  • Failing to stop completely at a stop sign
  • Speeding or driving too slowly

Other driving challenges for seniors include failing to make sure it’s safe when backing out of a parking space, pulling out too closely in front of another car, and changing lanes in an unsafe manner.

AAA Senior Driving Self-Assessment

If you’ve noticed your reflexes may be slowing, or if you have concerns about a loved one’s driving skills, AAA offers several resources for both the senior driver and concerned friends and family. At seniordriving.aaa.com, seniors can learn how changes in the body can affect driving, and how to improve driving skills.

You can download Drivers 65 Plus, a brochure that offers a driving assessment exercise to help seniors evaluate their driving proficiency.

AAA Roadwise Review is an online interactive driving evaluation program for seniors that covers topics like mobility, flexibility, visual acuity, memory and speed processing. The exercises can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes and are also designed to help seniors improve their driving ability.

Senior Driver Safety Course

It never hurts to brush up on your driving skills, no matter your age. For a small fee, AARP offers the Driver Safety Classroom at various locations around town. Specific to the over-50 driver, the class reviews topics like minimizing blind spots, keeping a proper distance between cars, and making safe lane changes. The class also provides an overview of the latest technology in today’s new cars.

Age and driving need not be mutually exclusive. Being aware of how health changes can impact driving, learning how to make proactive changes in your driving habits and identifying any physical limitations will ensure you continue to be a safe driver in your golden years.