VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 11   |   MARCH 16 – 22, 2011

MARCH 17, 2011

New data shows need to crack down on rolling stops

CHICAGO – A review of recently released statistics raises concerns about pedestrian fatalities and the need for increased driver awareness and enforcement of intersection safety laws.  A January 2011 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) looking at pedestrian and traffic fatalities in the first six months of 2010 showed the number of pedestrian deaths increased from January to June while overall traffic fatalities dropped by eight percent. 

According to the GHSA report, “Pedestrians and drivers share responsibility for many pedestrian fatalities, as pedestrians and vehicles attempt to use the same space at the same time.”

As part of its Respect Red campaign, the Traffic Safety Coalition is raising awareness about motorists who disregard red lights to make an illegal right-hand turn and engage in “rolling stops,” putting themselves and others at risk on our roadways.  A complete stop allows a driver to look for pedestrians, pedal-cyclists and other vehicles before turning.  24 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 33 percent of pedal-cyclist fatalities in 2009 occurred in intersections (National Highway Traffic Safety Association). 

“Rolling stops are illegal and they’re dangerous.  It’s time we stop giving drivers an excuse to break the law,” said Traffic Safety Coalition co-chairs Paul and Sue Oberhauser, who lost their daughter, Sarah when a man ran a red light and crashed into her car.  “Cities and police officers should have every available technology to change this behavior and catch drivers who put other people’s health and safety at risk.”

There were more than 4,000 pedestrian fatalities and 59,000 injuries in crashes in 2009, accounting for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities.  In the same year, there were 630 pedal-cyclist deaths and 51,000 injuries on our roadways (National Highway Traffic Safety Association). 

Law enforcement officers across the country enforce intersection safety laws to prevent dangerous crashes, including those caused by drivers who roll through red lights to make right turns.  Added enforcement through technology, such as safety cameras, encourages compliance with intersection and other crucial traffic safety laws. 

A copy of the Governors Highway Safety Association study can be found at http://www.ghsa.org.

Sources: Governors Highway Safety Association, National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

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