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Communities install traffic signals to help regulate the flow of cars and trucks in heavily trafficked areas, but new research shows an alarming increase in the number of people dying at signaled intersections. Deaths resulting from motorists running red lights continue to rise across New Jersey and the nation, and the problem has gotten so bad that some are now calling it an epidemic.

According to NJTV, fatalities that result from drivers blowing through red lights are at a 10-year high, with 939 people dying due to these circumstances in 2017 alone. Of those 939 deaths, 20 of them occurred in New Jersey. Also troubling is the fact that, between 2008 and 2017, a total of 7,800 people passed away in crashes caused by red-light runners.

While these numbers are cause for concern, they do not take into account the tens of thousands of other people who experience injuries, but who do not ultimately die, in crashes resulting from motorists running red lights. They do, however, indicate a need for drivers to be increasingly vigilant when navigating signaled intersections.

Just what is it that makes so many drivers blow red lights? Some safety advocates note that distracted driving likely factors into the increase, with texting behind the wheel and similar behaviors contributing to the rising number of deaths caused by red-light runners. However, the new research that has become available regarding drivers who blow through red lights indicates that many crashes at signaled intersections occur because some drivers are intentionally speeding. Find more about motor vehicle crashes on our webpage.