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I don't know what the statistics are for the number of citizens that are killed or nearly killed at intersections in our fair city, but I would presume they are significant. It's not just the drunk drivers who take lives in traffic, but simple everyday 9-to-5 commuters who have their own agendas that don't include attention to surrounding traffic.
My purpose in addressing this problem is two-fold. First, I feel so sorry for the families who lose a loved one at the hand of red-light runners because I recently almost became a victim myself. A week ago Saturday morning, on my way home from a YourHub brainstorming meeting, I was driving through the intersection of Powers Boulevard and North Carefree.
I had a green light, but then out of nowhere a car came flying through the same light on a red turn signal. I had to slam on my brakes to avoid being hit broadside on the driver's side. The car following me had to slam on his brakes and ended up skidding into the next lane to avoid rear ending me. Fortunately, there was no traffic in the lane he was forced into. Had I not been able to stop in time, truly I believe dear reader that I would be relating this story to Saint Peter.
Second point, we have all seen these culprits and some people just honk their horns at them and wonder, "Where is a cop when you need one?" They can't patrol every inch of cement in the community at any given time. I have heard that many cities are setting up camera systems at major intersections to photograph the license plates of red light runners. That is a technology that should have been in place years ago when digital photography first came into existence.
Granted that the instant picture will not eliminate all deaths at busy corners, but it may be an incentive to bring the red light runners to understand that they are going to be held accountable whether they cause an accident or not. "Hey mister, we have your number!"
Since I don't run red lights; maybe an occasional yellow, I can only guess at some of the reasons people do. Not paying attention to their driving has got to top off the list. Perhaps on a cell phone call, or attempting to tune the radio, or just in a hurry to get from point A to point B.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that in seconds a serious accident can occur and one more innocent citizen may be carelessly snuffed out. The laws are clear. Green means go and red means stop. Don't speed up or try to get through a light even if there is no cross traffic coming.
And, what is with the tailgater? You have seen them too, I'll bet. You are coming up to the light in the left turn lane behind three other cars and the first car goes through on the yellow. The second car makes a turn on the red arrow and then, and then, a third car continues on after the second, also on the red. Like it is their civic duty to make that light! It is absurd and dangerous, but it's more thoughtless and uncaring when the cost of another minute before the next green could cost a precious life.
The red-light runner is not just putting another motorist at risk, they are counting on nothing bad happening to them either and that is where the common sense aspect seems to drastically fall apart. It's not just red lights that get ignored. I have seen cars make right turns at stop signs hardly slowing down to cruising speed. That is another cause for more dialog, so I won't go there.
I guess nothing else can be enacted to protect the innocent in traffic at intersections, but if these "red light runners" would take a minute to think what the results could be before they take a chance at the red light, maybe if would give all of us a better safety net and lower the statistics.