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Why are so many New York City drivers running red lights?

It’s something that New York City children are taught in grade school—green means go, and red means stop. While the laws related to traffic signals are fundamental to ensuring for the safety of all drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists; a recent study revealed that an alarming number of drivers in the city are running red lights.

For the study, professors from Hunter College had students conduct observational surveys of 50 intersections throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Of the 4,379 drivers observed, students noted that 381 ran red lights. This equates to roughly one out of every 10 drivers and is cause for alarm and concern for anyone who drives, is a passenger, walks or bikes in the city.

Two of the most dangerous intersections identified by students as having the highest percentages of drivers who ran red lights are in Brooklyn, at 88th street and 4th Ave., where roughly 37 percent of those drivers observed ran red lights and in Manhattan, at 50th and 7th, where 30 percent of drivers ran red lights.

In their findings students noted that, at 14.5 percent, New York City taxi drivers were the worst red-light offenders. Additionally, there was virtually no difference between the sexes with both male and female drivers running red lights at the same rate and more drivers ran red lights on Monday than any other day of the week.

The Federal Highway Association notes that “red-light running is the most common cause of urban crashes in the U.S.” And while the vast majority of U.S. drivers agree that running a red light is dangerous, at some point, many either intentionally or unintentionally admit to doing so.

Individuals who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver who ran a red light may choose to discuss their case with an attorney. A successful personal injury lawsuit can aid in the recovery of compensation related to medical expenses, disability and lost wages.

Source: The Atlantic: City Lab, “It’s Shockingly Common for New Yorkers to Blow Through Red Lights,” Sarah Goodyear, June 8, 2015



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