We’ve all done it – while driving we see someone speeding, weaving through traffic, or tailgating and we think, “Look at that idiot. He’s gonna kill someone.”
But according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Americans blame other motorists for unsafe driving, even though many admit to doing the same dangerous practices themselves. Take red light running for instance.
The Foundation’s 2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index says that more than 70 percent of motorists rated red light running as a serious problem, yet over half of those same individuals admitted to speeding up to get through yellow lights, and 5 percent even admitted to having run a red light on purpose in the past month.
Every 13 minutes, someone dies on America’s roads, but Americans seem complacent about this incredible statistic. If someone died every 13 minutes from a disease, that disease would be considered an epidemic.
Some communities are instituting red light cameras that take a picture of vehicles as they run through red lights, and send the vehicle’s owner a ticket. This seems to be working to cut down on violations at traffic lights. For instance in Charlotte, NC, the red light camera program has cut the number of red light runners by 70 percent in one year, and crashes dropped by 10 percent throughout the city.
But in other cities, lawmakers and local officials have not installed the cameras because they believe the cameras impinge on drivers’ privacy rights or because critics say the cameras cause more rear-end crashes. In 2005, Virginia Beach cut off its red light camera program and crashes at the four intersections where they had been installed more than doubled in the first six months, according to local police.
So if not red light cameras then what? More police at intersection? Stiffer penalties for those who get caught? Or do the cameras invade a driver’s privacy?
Please share your thoughts and tell us what’s happening in your area.