According to figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, red light runners in California and around the country kill or injure tens of thousands of people each year. Motorists who ignore traffic signals tend to speed up when lights turn red, which means the accidents they cause often cause death or catastrophic injury. Many of the road users killed by red light runners are pedestrians or cyclists, but a worryingly large number of drivers still seem willing to place others in danger just to reduce their travel times by about a minute.
Red light cameras
In some large cities, placing cameras at intersections that capture images of red light runners have reduced fatal intersection crashes by as much as 21%. These devices are legal in California, but they are seldomly installed because they are expensive and many drivers simply ignore the tickets they generate.
There are currently no traffic signal cameras installed in Santa Clara County, but that does not mean red light runners have free reign. The San Jose Police Department uses devices called rat boxes to identify and apprehend motorists who run red lights. These are simple devices that attach to traffic signals and let police officers positioned nearby know when lights turn red. Police officers can then pull out an ticket drivers who ignored the signal to stop. The devices only cost about $150, and they are called rat boxes because they have wires running from them that look like a rodent’s tail.
Suing red light runners
Establishing which driver had the right of way is crucial in lawsuits filed against red light runners. While red light cameras are rare in California, many businesses and even some residences near busy intersections have security cameras. This is one of the reasons why experienced personal injury attorneys may visit accident scenes to gather evidence.