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For the Sake of Seconds — Lives Lost


I can make it. I will not run the red light. Wrong.

First, the light is never as long as you think it will be between the change from yellow to red.

Second, the yellow light does not mean “go faster into the intersection”.

The statistics are crystal clear that running a red, or an orange, light is a recipe for disaster:

  • Do you know that in one year, an average of 24 people were killed each day, over 8,700 people in a single year, in intersection crashes?
  • Do you know Red-light running is the single most leading cause of city crashes?
  • Do you know that nearly 2/3 of people killed in intersection crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists or occupants of other vehicles?
  • Do you know that red light cameras saved over 150 lives last year in 14 of the biggest cities from 2004 to 2008?
  • Do you know that over 3 billion drivers receive red-light tickets?
  • Do you know Friday is the worst day for red-light running?
  • Do you know that someone runs a red light an average of every 20 minutes at urban intersections
  • Do you know that 40% of all crashes nationwide and 21% of all fatal crashes occur at intersections. Did you know that between 2006 – 2010, 4,719 people were killed and another 50,408 people were seriously injured in intersection related crashes?
  • Do you know that besides the tragic loss of life, the cost to society of all crashes exceeds $230 billion annually?
  • Do you know you or your loved ones are more likely to be injured due to a red-light running related crash than any other type of crash?

And, what are the faces of red-light negligence and carelessness? Sadly those faces are many, and often tragically young.

Amanda is a young lady who, at the time of the accident, was minding her own business and was on her way from school and in the left hand turn lane with a green turn light. A dump truck ran the red light and she suffered multiple, serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. The dump truck came through the intersection approximately 12 seconds after it turned red. For the sake of 12 seconds a young girl’s life was forever changed.


Mark Wandall was in his brother-in-law’s car after having dinner together. Another motorist, one-quarter of a mile from Mark’s home, ran a red light and tragically killed young Mark Waddall. Mark Waddall never saw the birth of his daughter or watch her grow up.


Kathy Cook was waiting on a street corner after arriving by bus at the park and ride. A truck suddenly came through a red light intersection 8 seconds after it turned red. The truck hit another vehicle and swerved into the pedestrians on the corner. Kathy Cook lost her life and Lori Koidahl lost her mom because a truck driver could not spare 8 seconds.


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