Thanks to a state law that recently went into effect, Ohio drivers are now permitted to go through a red light if it is malfunctioning or lasting an inordinate amount of time, as long as there is no oncoming traffic.
However, the law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at the intersection and look for oncoming traffic.
We do not want drivers to just wait a few seconds and blow through a red light, says officer John Jung of the Kettering Police Department. Authorities also advise drivers to proceed with caution to avoid accidents.
If an accident occurs, the burden of proof is on the driver who went through the red light to prove the light was malfunctioning. If the driver cannot prove the light was malfunctioning, he or she will be considered the at-fault driver.
Authorities and driving instructors are concerned the new law will lead to more accidents at intersections, which are often deadly.
Drivers are prone to getting into accidents at intersections and a driver going through a green light would not expect a driver to go through a red light, says Ohio state Sen. Cecil Thomas.
The law has also created confusion among new drivers, according to driving instructors who say they have to explain that the law is not a free pass to run every red light.
Red Light Accidents
Every year, drivers who run red lights are responsible for preventable injuries and deaths. Running a red light means the driver has entered the intersection after the light has turned red.
Here are some alarming statistics about running red lights:
- In 2014, approximately 126,000 people were hurt and 709 people suffered fatalities due to red light runners who caused accidents.
- According to one report, the most common type of collision involved drivers who ran through red lights and other traffic signals.
- Of collisions caused by drivers who disregarded traffic control signals, 39 percent caused injuries.
- A Virginia study of five intersections revealed motorists ran red lights every 20 minutes per intersection.
The aftermath of red light runners who cause auto accidents can be devastating for everyone involved. In addition to property damage, car accident victims can suffer disabling injuries or even death.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of a distracted driver, contact the auto accident attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today. They will fight for justice and compensation for your pain, suffering and injuries, including medical expenses and lost income.