Distracted driving leads to running red lights, accidents

Distracted driving increases the risk of being in a car accident. While many news reports have focused on the impact cellphone use has on car accidents, a new study specifically looked at the risk distracted driving may have on a driver running a red light.

Roughly 12 percent of red light violations were caused by distracted driving, according to a study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads. The safety organization said that distracted driving is responsible for over seven million red light violations every year in the U.S.

Car accidents caused by drivers running red lights are the leading cause of car accidents in urban settings in the country, and safety organizations believe that distracted driving has directly contributed to car accidents in intersections.

Recent studies found a connection between running red lights and distracted driving, reporting that communities that had stricter bans on cellphone use had a lower rate of red light violations compared to communities that did not have cellphone bans. Studies found that more than 16 percent of intersection car accidents caused by red light violations happened in communities without strict cellphone bans compared to communities with cellphone bans reporting less than 10 percent of red light violations being attributed to distracted driving.

The National Safety Council reports that cellphone use behind the wheel causes 21 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. Cellphone use is very dangerous for drivers, with studies showing that drivers who use cellphones are four times more likely to be killed in a car accident.

To address the dangers of distracted driving and the impact on running red lights, the National Coalition for Safer Roads and other safety groups have launched a new campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving when driving through intersections. The safety organizations are hoping that the new campaigns will decrease the number of intersection crashes caused by distracted driving in the U.S.

Source: Auto Blog, "Distracted driving blamed for 7.3 million red light violations," Zach Bowman, June 8, 2013

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