When a Driver Runs a Red Light, Fatal Crashes Can Follow

Red light accidents are on the rise.A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study reported that 939 people were killed in 2017 because a driver ran a red light—the highest figure in the last 10 years. This represents a 28% increase in red light accident deaths since 2012, and it should remind us all of the necessity of adhering to even the most basic of road laws. 

What Are the Red Light Laws in North Carolina?

While it may seem fairly straightforward, it’s important to understand a driver’s responsibility when faced with a red light. In the state of North Carolina, drivers are instructed to stop:

  • At a solid red light. Drivers should come to a complete stop before the intersection and out of a crosswalk if one exists across the intersection. 
  • At a flashing red light. Drivers should treat a flashing red light similar to a stop sign. They should come to a complete stop and yield to any vehicles or pedestrians who have the right of way. This includes those at the intersection already and those approaching. the area.
  • Before turning right at a red light. It is permissible to turn right at a red light in North Carolina after first coming to a complete stop. Drivers should yield to any oncoming traffic, as well as pedestrians using the intersection or those who are reasonably close.

Additionally, drivers should take care when approaching a yellow light. The yellow light warns that a red light is imminent. Ignoring that warning for too long is dangerous. If the light were to change just before a driver entered the intersection and the driver did not stop, it could constitute running a red light.

Who Is in Danger of a Red Light Crash?

While the AAA study reported that drivers overwhelmingly view running a red light as dangerous, about one-third of them also admitted to doing so in the month leading up to the study. Whether they are distracted or simply don’t think they’ll get caught, the truth is drivers do ignore the red light laws. And when they do, other people often must suffer the consequences. That same study claims that nearly half of those killed in red light crashes were passengers or those in other vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for about 5% of deaths.

What Are Your Rights When You Lose a Loved One?

For the family members of those accident victims, life will never be the same. Another driver’s carelessness and disregard for the law, however, does not have to go unchecked. At-fault drivers can be held responsible for their actions. 

A wrongful death legal claim can provide compensation to help families address many of the unexpected financial burdens that come along at this difficult time. While it cannot bring back your loved one, a claim could help your family remain financially stable with compensation for:

  • Medical bills for treatment prior to the death
  • Pain and suffering of the victim
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of companionship

Wrongful death claims in North Carolina typically can be filed by a spouse, children, or parents. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, contact an experienced accident attorney today.

 At Brent Adams & Associates, we offer free, no-obligation consultations to help families understand their rights and provide the information they need to make the most effective decisions possible. At such a difficult time, our legal team is here to provide compassionate and effective counsel so victim’s families can obtain the justice and compensation they need to start moving forward.

The rules about fault in North Carolina are strict, and the law only gives families a set amount of time to file a claim after an accident—so it’s important to investigate your options as soon as possible. While we know it can be overwhelming to consider a legal claim during this difficult time, our legal team may be able to help relieve some of this burden. Call our North Carolina office nearest you or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to speak with a member of our team.