National study finds the number of people killed by drivers running red lights is highest in 10 years

 Red stop light at St Joseph Street
Red stop light at St Joseph Street (KOTA)
Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 10:27 PM CDT
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A national study found the number of people killed by drivers running through stop lights is at a 10-year high, but what does that mean for Rapid City?

What could happen if you run a red light?

"Worst case scenario is that you get into a traffic accident, you could injure yourself, you can injure somebody else, but if you're talking about the legal repercussions, disregarding a traffic signal is a class two misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail, or a 500 dollar fine, or both," said Brendyn Medina, Rapid City Police Department community relations specialist.

The number of people killed by drivers running red lights is at its highest in 10 years.

That's two people killed every day by those who don't stop.

"Nobody wants to get a phone call, you know, at the end of the day being like your wife just passed away in a car accident because somebody was texting or somebody didn't put their signal on or whatever, and so just being mindful and just using common sense, it's important, you don't want to cause anybody else danger," said Kayla Williams, a Rapid City driver.

With numbers nearly 25 percent below the national average, South Dakota is at a four-year low for traffic signal accidents.

However, Rapid City police said that doesn't mean it's not a problem here.

"We just need to remember that, you know, you're operating a two ton motor vehicle that can travel very quickly and when you're not paying attention that can become a very heavy missile and so we just urge drivers to pay attention and be aware while they're out and about," Medina said.

The study by AAA found red light deaths are increasing at a faster rate and they suspect distracted driving is to blame.

"Driving a car is a big deal, it can take somebody's life away in a second so I think it's really important to just exercise safety and use the things you were taught to use," Williams said.

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