Too many Michigan drivers are not seeing red.  State and federal highway officials say more than 3,500 crashes in Southeast Michigan in 2009 could have been avoided by one simple action: stopping when the traffic light was red.

Twelve of the 3,508 crashes were fatal.  Detroit had the most red-light-running crashes, 858, followed by Sterling Heights, Warren, and Dearborn, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

The highest percentage of those accidents actually occurred in the small communities of New Haven, Lathrup Village, and Pleasant Ridge, according to SEMCOG.

This week, August 1-7, is the 13th annual National Stop on Red Week across the country. 

“We at the SEMCOG hope that these statistics help to drive home the fact that there are serious problems at lighted intersections,” said Paul Tait, SEMCOG Executive Director.

“We’re all in a hurry these days and especially distracted with cell phones and text messages, construction and congestion,” Tait said.

This is an urgent reminder to focus on the road and please remember to stop when the light is red, he said.

He said that even when the light is green for you, make sure that the vehicle with the red light has actually stopped before proceeding through the intersection.

In 2009, 33,117 traffic crashes took place at signalized intersections in Southeast Michigan; 10.6 percent of those, 3,508, involved red-light runners.

Additional information on the national red-light running campaign can be found here.

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  1. Matt says:

    I think red light accidents can be lowered with the installation of countdown timers similar to the crosswalk timers. The timers would countdown and let drivers know when the light will turn yellow. I have noticed that when cars are on a road with a higher speed limit (45mph or higher) the crosswalk timer can help to determine if the driver has enough time to make it through the light. Large countdown timers installed over the intersections would greatly reduce accidents and improve traffic flow.

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