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Is the running of red lights a problem in Maryland?

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Regardless of where this activity takes place, it is definitely a problem. Government data indicates that running through a red light leads to "hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries" on a yearly basis. Maryland, like other states, has its share of people who disregard the law and choose to run through a red light. Unfortunately, it is the law-abiding citizens who must often pay for this negligent behavior.

It is difficult to come up with an exact figure as to the amount of Maryland car accidents caused by red light running. However, on the national level, over 700 people died in 2014 in car accidents that involved someone running a red light. That same year, estimates indicate that 126,000 people suffered injuries due to red light running. One study found that car accidents caused by the running of red lights and other traffic controls were the most common type of accident at 22 percent.

With these national figures, it is unwise to assume that Maryland is immune to the problem of disregarding traffic controls. The question is: What is being done about the issue? Two preventive measures that seem to have made a difference are replacing signalized intersections with roundabouts and the use of signal light cameras to photograph violators. Some studies also indicate that increasing the time a traffic light is yellow may also help reduce car accidents.

Even with preventive measures, car accidents caused by running red lights will likely continue, although hopefully less frequently. Holding the responsible parties accountable through legal action can also work to discourage reckless motorists from disregarding traffic indicators.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Red light running," accessed Oct. 20, 2016

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