Running a red light to save a few seconds costs roughly 750 people their lives each year. In 2011 alone, nearly 118,000 people were injured when motorists ran a red light and “T-boned” another vehicle. More than half the time, it is not the person who runs the red light who is injured or killed.
On June 5th, Jason Missak was cruising along West Pensacola Avenue in his white Jaguar when he decided to run a red light in Avondale. That decision cost Carmen Maria Vanegas her life. Missak’s vehicle struck Vanegas vehicle, and pushed it into two other vehicles. The damage caused the vehicle to erupt into flames, trapping Vanegas inside. Missak, who was drunk and speeding at the time of the accident, fled the scene and was later arrested.
When a vehicle is T-boned, it can cause serious personal injuries even if the vehicle is equipped with side-impact airbags. The impact can cause broken bones, spinal cord injuries including paralysis, organ trauma, and lacerations. Moreover, the damage to the vehicle can trap occupants inside making it impossible for them to escape secondary hazards such as fire.
In order to reduce red light accidents, the City of Chicago has installed red light cameras at various high-risk intersections within the city. These cameras have reduced T-bone accidents by 40%, and all crashes 30%. They have also reduced rear-end crashes 18%, and total injuries by 11%.
While the City of Chicago debates removing the red light cameras, the cost to lives and property would be considerable. It’s a decision that would cause accident rates, injury rates, and fatality rates to climb significantly higher. Whatever the city decides later this year, drivers should be aware that motorists who run red lights are considered to be “at fault” for causing an accident. Thus, they will continue to be liable for any personal injuries or wrongful deaths that result from their decision to run a red light.
From an economic standpoint, red light accidents cause nearly $378 million dollars in medical expenses, lost income, and funeral expenses each month. For the few seconds running a red light might save a driver, it simply isn’t worth the cost. Individuals who have been injured by a motorist who ran a red light should contact a car accident lawyer in Chicago to begin the process of seeking compensation for their injuries and other expenses that are the result of another driver’s negligent decision to run a red light.