Running reds is always a bad call; even when the coast looks clear, you put yourself in a vulnerable place by being in the middle of a road where you're not supposed to be. Although running red lights is illegal, and the sort of thing you learn not to do in your first day of driving school, a surprising number of people still take the chance.
The numbers back this up, with AAA reporting in their latest Traffic Safety Culture Index that there has been a 28% increase in fatalities from red light-running crashes since 2012. In fact, according to their findings, every day 2 people in the United States, whether drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists, die from red light-running crashes.
Reviewing the findings for Forbes, Tanya Mohn noted that it's not necessarily that people don't realize that running a red light is dangerous, it's that they choose to do so anyways.
"In the AAA Foundation's most recent annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, 85% of drivers surveyed said they viewed red light running as dangerous, yet nearly one in three sad they blew through one within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely."
As with many poor decisions made on the road, the belief that there will be no consequences for bad behaviour is part of the problem. Many of those surveyed felt that it was unlikely that they would be stopped for running a red light.
One potential solution is an increase in red light cameras. There are two benefits to this solution. On the one hand, they work, with AAA finding that, in large cities where they have been implemented, there has been a decrease of 21% in people running red lights. On the other hand, the knowledge that you could be caught on camera in the act, even if there are no police in the vicinity, could be a deterrent for those who take liberties when they feel like they won't get caught.
Read more about the report from AAA in the original article by Forbes.