Red-light car accidents are on the rise in the United States, and these collisions frequently result in serious injuries. These accidents often occur when a driver attempts to beat an intersection light before it switches from yellow to red. Although most drivers don’t intentionally run red lights, they’re still liable if they caused an accident when going through the intersection. Here’s what you need to know about red-light wrecks and car accident liability.
Red-Light Accident Statistics in Maryland
The American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted eye-opening studies indicating the dangers of running red lights. According to their data on traffic accidents in the United States, two people die in red-light car accidents daily, and red-light car accident fatalities have increased by 28% in the last ten years. Around 61% of the victims in fatal accidents were drivers or passengers in other cars, while around 33% of the victims were drivers that ran red lights. Additionally, around 5% of the victims were pedestrians or cyclists. AAA also found that 28% of fatal intersection accidents are caused by drivers running red lights.
Maryland ranks 18th in the United States when it comes to fatal red-light car accidents, and we’ve seen a significant increase in fatal accidents recently. Between 2012 and 2017, Maryland had a 45% increase in fatal red-light accidents.
Types of Red-Light Car Accidents
Different types of red-light car accidents can cause serious or fatal injuries. These include:
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bike accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
These accidents typically occur due to a driver’s negligence. Some of the behaviors that contribute to or cause red-light accidents include:
- Speeding up to beat a light before it switches from yellow to red
- Illegally turning on a red light
- Driving while distracted
- Failing to notice that a light changed to red
- Entering an intersection too quickly after it turns green, resulting in a collision with a driver running a red light
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Avoid Red-Light Car Accidents
Some of the ways you can avoid becoming involved in a serious red-light car accident include:
- Stay alert: You need to stay conscious of your surroundings so that you can make split decisions and avoid accidents. Remaining alert will increase your likelihood of noticing a driver running a red light or noticing a red light. Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, texting, or adjusting your radio.
- Pause before proceeding at a green light: When a light turns green, take a brief moment to make sure that a driver doesn’t enter the intersection while their light is red.
- Stay safe in the yellow light dilemma zone: The yellow light dilemma zone refers to the moment when drivers must decide whether to proceed into an intersection with a yellow light. Although it’s not illegal to enter an intersection while the light is yellow, it can be highly dangerous if you over anticipate the amount of time you have before the light turns red.
- Drive the speed limit: Driving at the correct legal speed will give you more time to decide whether to stop or proceed in the yellow light dilemma zone.
Proving a Driver Was At Fault for a Car Accident
In order to recover compensation after a car accident in Maryland, you must prove that the driver is entirely at fault. Maryland has a pure contributory negligence system, meaning that even if you’re only found 1% at fault for an accident, you cannot recover compensation for personal injuries and property damage.
You can prove that a driver ran a red light and was at fault for your accident by providing evidence such as:
- Police reports
- Red light camera photos
- Surveillance footage from nearby residences or businesses
- Accident reconstruction experts corroborating that the other driver ran the red light
- Witness statements
Some forms of evidence are challenging to obtain, unfortunately, so you need legal representation to assist you through the process. A car accident lawyer can help you with your case by subpoenaing crucial evidence, like surveillance camera footage and red-light photos. They’ll also gather expert witnesses to help you prove that the other driver caused the accident and the wreck directly resulted in your injuries.
Contact a Maryland Car Accident Attorney
If you suffer from a red-light car accident, you need a seasoned Maryland car accident legal team at your side to help you recover the damages you deserve. Here at Zirkin & Schmerling Law, we’ve helped numerous Maryland residents recover the damages they deserved, including compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, and more. Call us today at 410-753-4611, or schedule a free consultation here.