Car accident deaths caused by drivers who run red lights have spiked 17 percent in the last five years. That's according to a new joint study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), National Safety Council (NSC), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and AAA. The groups have called for more communities to take advantage of red light cameras in response to this revelation, which they indicate is a result of fewer cities and counties using red light cameras.
This has been a hot-button issue across Ohio and specifically in Columbus, which used to have 48 cameras stationed at 38 intersections but dismantled the program amid legal challenges. Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of cities like Columbus that use the cameras, finding state legislature-imposed restrictions on red light cameras were unconstitutional. One of the bills that was challenged would have required each municipality that used red light cameras to station an officer at each one. The state supreme court justices ruled that this defeated the whole purpose of the red light camera program.
However, Columbus declined to restart the program, citing a lack of funding. This is despite The Columbus Dispatch reporting in 2016 that within one year of the red light cameras being removed in the city, crash data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety revealed a spike in collisions at those 38 intersections that used to have cameras. (What they couldn't say was whether that was specifically because there were no more cameras at those locations or because driving, in general, got more dangerous, given that overall crashes are on the rise, not just here in Columbus but across the U.S.)
Meanwhile, the recent study reports that while there were a total of 696 deaths nationally in 2012 caused by red light running drivers, that death toll rose in 2016 to more than 800 - the highest number of red light running deaths since 2007. According to researchers, more than half of those who died in these crashes were not at fault. Those affected included pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants of other vehicles.
Columbus Car Accident Attorneys Talk Legal Options in Red Light Crashes
Ohio Rev. Code Ann 4511.13 outlines the state law on your duties upon encountering roadway traffic signals and who has the right of way. If you're injured in a crash and want to seek damages from the auto insurance of the other driver, you have to prove he or she was negligent.
An experienced Columbus auto accident attorney can help you determine the best course of legal action given the facts of your case.