U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federal Highway Administration Applauds Success of Local Efforts to Stop Red Light Running
Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle today applauded communities that voluntarily undertook campaigns and other efforts to stop red light running during stop red light running week, Oct. 8-14. His praise comes on the heels of new data revealing that, in the most active days of the National Stop Red Light Running Partnership, fatalities related to red light running have decreased.
"This partnership and the participating communities faced a big challenge in bringing about a reduction in the number of injuries and fatalities associated with this problem, and their efforts are beginning to bear fruit," Wykle said. "The result is improved safety, which is President Clinton and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority."
This year's "National Stop on Red Week," marked the third annual observance of this safety effort. The program is a public-private partnership between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Trauma Society (ATS).
According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, between 1996 and 1999, the period of most aggressive stop red-light-running activities, there has been an 10.3 percent decrease in the number of fatalities at intersections with red lights. For the same period there was about a 6 percent decrease in the number of crashes in intersections with red lights. In 1999, there were nearly 91,000 crashes in intersections with red lights. These crashes resulted in more than 90,000 injuries and 956 fatalities.
"We are all very happy to see a reduction in this problem, but the loss of 956 Americans a year is still too high a price to pay," said ATS Executive Director Harry Teter. "We must continue to do a better job of making people aware that running red lights simply is not acceptable."
Wykle also welcomed a new effort between the Federal Highway Administration and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) to identify engineering countermeasures that can contribute to reductions in red light running.
"These crashes can be avoided," said Tom Brahms, ITE Executive Director. "Traffic engineers install traffic signals to establish right of way, reduce right-angle accidents, to provide adequate time for pedestrians and vehicles to cross the intersection, and to improve the efficiency of traffic flow. We are also working to deploy new tools designed to improve the operation and safety of our nation's roadways. However, everyone must obey the law."
This year's National Stop on Red Week theme was "Zero Tolerance" to encourage more traffic safety interest groups, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, law makers and others to initiate or continue local programs to combat red light running.
Communities across the country raised awareness of red light running through press conferences, increased enforcement, and distribution of educational materials and other activities. The Stop Red Light Running program provides those interested in promoting highway safety with technical and program support for local initiatives. A website for further information is available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/redlight/srlr/.