Running the Red Light

July 14, 2015

Do you find that you are hesitant to immediately take off when your traffic light turns green? You start to go and fortunately you hesitate as someone runs the red light. (Hopefully you are not the one doing the “running.”) What is the advantage to running the light? Does it really make that big a difference for the arrival time at the desired destination? In fact, running the red light could land someone at their “final destination.”

Do you get nervous when you can see the person on “your tail” is on a cell phone or texting? Distracted driving is cause for many a motor vehicle crash. Is it really that important to get a message right then and there?

Are you a weaver and darter in and out of traffic, especially on the highway? Do you travel way beyond the speed limit? Again, the question arises, what advantage does this create for reaching your destination if your driving behavior causes an accident?

Do you wear your seatbelt (and if you have children, are they in a proper car seat?) Data overwhelmingly has demonstrated that seat belts save lives when used properly.

Motor vehicle crashes are caused by carelessness, faulty operation of a vehicle or failure of vehicle equipment. Motor vehicle crashes can be prevented. Consider these CT statistics from the Department of Public Health

  • Unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, were the 4th leading cause of death for ages 15-44 (2012 data.)
  • Between 2006 and 2010, 1,516 CT residents died from crashes.
  • From 2007 to 2013, There were 14,012 hospital stays and 191,984 Emergency Room visits due to motor vehicle crashes during that same time period.  

Because “accidents” have preventable causes, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) changed the term “accident prevention” to “injury prevention” for just that reason.  The focus now is on safe practices. When you are driving your car too fast or weaving in and out of traffic or passing in a no passing zone or texting, a motor vehicle crash is not by accident! It has a cause (carelessness) and could have been prevented.

If we all slowed down just a bit, if we obeyed the traffic laws (including those on cell phones and texting) and if we wore our seatbelts, a great number of injuries and deaths could be prevented.  You may not be the “red light runner” or the “weaving speed demon” on the highway but you may know someone who is. Perhaps you could leave this column in a noticeable spot. Taking a few extra minutes could add hours onto your life or someone else’s life. Quinnipiack Valley Health District serving residents in Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge, wishes you a safe summer. Call QVHD, 203 248-4528 or request on line, for information about health topics.