Imagine that you're driving down Queens Boulevard when you come to a traffic light. As you approach the light it turns yellow and then red and you stop. The vehicle next to you, however, does not stop. As the car zooms through the intersection, it's broadsided by a delivery truck whose driver had a green light.
Traffic lights exist to help manage traffic congestion and flow, while ensuring for the safety of drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Drivers who fail to abide by traffic laws and run red lights not only put their own lives at risk, but also those of everyone else with whom they share the road.
While most drivers would likely agree that running a red light is dangerous, a recent study conducted by Hunter College shows that nearly 10 percent of New York City drivers engage in this dangerous driving practice.
For the study, researchers observed the driving behaviors of drivers at 50 intersections throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Out of the 4,379 drivers who were observed, nearly nine percent ran red lights. Among red-light offenders nearly four-and-a-half percent zoomed right through the light without slowing down while nearly two percent paused and then drove through the red light. Additionally, nearly two percent of drivers observed turned right on a red light which is illegal in New York City.
When it comes to running red lights, gender appears to be a non-issue as both male and female drivers committed the traffic violation at approximately the same rate. Researchers also noted that the most red-light violations occurred on Monday and the worst offenders were taxi drivers.
Source: City Lab, "It's Shockingly Common for New Yorkers to Blow Through Red Lights," Sarah Goodyear, June 8, 2015