"National Stop on Red Week" Reminds Drivers to Stop on Red; Red Light Running Crashes, Fatalities Increase
FHWA, TaMara McCrae (202) 366-0660
ATS, Harry Teter (800) 556-7890
ITE, Thomas W. Brahms (202) 289-0222
More than 1,000 Americans lose their lives each year in red light running crashes and thousands more are injured. To raise awareness about the danger red light running poses to motorists and pedestrians, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Trauma Society (ATS), and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) are sponsoring the fifth annual "National Stop on Red Week," Sept. 7-13.
"Red light running is a threat to everyone. It leads to thousands of injuries and deaths in intersections," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters. "I applaud this partnership and the participating communities for their efforts to reduce crashes at intersections through education, engineering, and enforcement countermeasures. Their work supports the Bush administration's commitment to improving safety on our nation's highways."
In 2001, the last year for which these statistics are available, there were an estimated 103,000 red light running crashes in intersections. These crashes resulted in 84,000 persons injured. Although injuries resulting from red light running crashes have dropped by nearly 7 percent since 2000, the number of fatal crashes and fatalities increased 6 percent and 5 percent respectively to 1,026 fatal crashes and 1,131 fatalities. Red light running crashes exact a toll in excess of $12 billion on our economy, counting medical expenses and time lost from work.
"Red light running is right behind drunk driving and lack of seat belt use in lives lost needlessly," said ATS Executive Director Harry Teter. "ATS and its members are committed to keeping this issue before the public."
This year's National Stop on Red Week theme is "Engineering Safer Intersections" to highlight the role and importance of good engineering to ensure red light running is kept to a minimum.
"The use of engineering countermeasures can help reduce the extent of the red light running problem in this country," said Thomas Brahms, ITE Executive Director. "Transportation professionals need to ensure that the design and operation parameters of an intersection work in tandem to reduce the number of motorists running red lights."
FHWA Administrator Peters pointed out that the FHWA, in collaboration with other partners such as the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are working to provide guidance, support and assistance to local communities in all aspects of engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency response and care as part of the national program.
Communities across the country are raising awareness of red light running through press conferences, increased enforcement, and distribution of educational materials and other activities. The "Stop Red Light Running" program provides those interested in promoting highway safety with technical and program support for local initiatives. A website for further information is available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/srlr.htm.