Although it can be frustrating when you catch a red light, these devices are put in place to ensure intersections are safe for all motorists and pedestrians.
To promote the importance of following traffic safety laws, the National Coalition for Safer Roads is sponsoring National Stop on Red Week from Aug. 6 until Aug.12.
The seasoned Fort Worth auto accident attorneys at Anderson & Cummings want Texas motorists to understand the dangers of running a red light.
We are ready to help victims who were injured in a red-light collision recover compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.
The Dangers of Running a Red Light
Failing to fully stop at a red light creates a high risk of causing a fatal auto collision or one that results in serious injury.
Between 2010 and 2014, more than 3,500 people in the U.S. were killed in auto accidents caused by motorists who failed to stop at red lights, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality and Reporting System.
The 2016 AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index Report found that:
- Approximately 93 percent of drivers view it as unacceptable for a motorist to drive through a traffic light that recently turned red when they could have safely stopped.
- Nearly 87 percent of drivers view red-light running as a threat to their safety.
- More than half (55.4 percent) of drivers surveyed support using red-light safety cameras on traffic signs located on residential streets to hold motorists liable for failing to stop at a red light.
However, AAA’s report also found that approximately 35 percent of motorists admitted driving through a red light that had just turned red within the past 30 days. Nearly one in four of those surveyed admitted to having done this more than once.
Texas Red Light Law
Traffic-control device laws in Texas have very specific rules for motorists when they encounter a red light, according to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 544.007.
Texas’ law regarding traffic-control signs requires that drivers:
- Come to a full stop at the line painted on the street just before the light that indicates the “limit line.” If there is no line, a motorist must come to a complete stop at the entrance to the intersection or crossing.
- Follow any signs that prohibit a driver from making a right turn at a red light. However, the motorist must yield to other vehicles and pedestrians legally crossing the intersection.
- Can turn left at a red light only if the intersecting streets are both one-way streets and a left turn is permitted.
Red Light Camera Video
Although red light traffic cameras may have been one of the strongest pieces of evidence to strengthen your accident case, these cameras are now mostly banned in Texas.
However, while the use of red light cameras is illegal, some municipalities are allowed to have these working cameras at traffic intersections until their contracts expire. This means that red light-runners may not be ticketed for their actions, but the video evidence of the person running the light might still be useful during your injury case.
Getting access to red light camera videos may require some extra work, such as making an official public records request from the municipal government where the accident occurred. Fortunately, our attorneys are prepared to do this on your behalf.
Surveillance Video from Nearby Establishments
Since not every intersection has a traffic camera, you may need to look for alternative video footage proving a driver ran a red light. Sometimes, a nearby establishment like a gas station or parking lot may have surveillance cameras that provide a shot of the street close to it.
It is important that, if you can and it is safe to do so, you look around the area of the accident to see if there are any cameras around. Take note of those cameras and where they are, as this may be helpful to your case in the future if your attorney needs to request surveillance footage from the scene of the crash.
If no nearby establishments have cameras, you may be able to use footage from a dashboard camera if you have one in your vehicle.
People who witnessed the accident may be able to provide a sworn statement, or affidavit, stating they saw a driver run a red light before the collision.
To do this, however, you need to get the contact information from these potential witnesses who may be interviewed later and who may agree to testify at trial if the case goes to court.
Eyewitnesses can be anyone from other drivers or bystanders to people patronizing a nearby business who saw what happened during the crash.
It is very important to always call the police after an accident, as it is a police officer’s job to act as an objective third party to help determine who caused the crash. This includes determining whether one driver ran a red light.
Everything the responding officer observes and statements he or she collects from bystanders should be included in the police report, which can then be submitted as evidence for your case.
Damage to the Vehicles
When most other key pieces of evidence to prove a driver ran a red light are unavailable or not compelling enough to strengthen a claim, your attorney may be able to turn to an accident reconstruction expert who may be able to determine the cause of the crash by analyzing the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident.
Generally, vehicles that were hit by a red light-runner might have damage to the front end of the vehicle or will have been t-boned.
What Are Your Rights After a Red-Light Accident?
If you are injured in a traffic collision caused by a driver who failed to stop at a red light, it is important that you know what to do after an auto accident to secure your claim and recover compensation.
Following your auto accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, regardless of whether you believe you have been harmed. This is important, because many auto accident victims suffer hidden or delayed injuries, such as whiplash, which may not display any symptoms until several days after the collision.
Some of the most common injuries caused by car accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken, sprained or fractured bones
- Neck injuries
- Laceration and bruises
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
After you have received medical treatment for your injuries, it is in your best interest to work with a skilled auto accident attorney who can help you during the claims process.
Our qualified attorneys will investigate your auto accident claim to determine if the other driver indeed failed to stop at a red light and is liable for your injuries. Any evidence we collect will be used to attempt to negotiate a favorable settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
If the at-fault driver or his or her insurer is being uncooperative or makes an unreasonably low offer, we will use this evidence to build a case that supports your claim. Although red-light accident lawsuits are rare, we are ready to file one if needed.
Contact Our Lawyers Today
If you were injured in a collision caused by a driver who ran through a red light, you may have a case that entitles you to compensation of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our qualified Fort Worth personal injury attorneys will work with you during a free, no obligation consultation to determine if your claim enables you to hold the at-fault driver liable for his or her negligence. We take cases only on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay for our legal services if we recover compensation for your claim.
Call (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.