It's simple. Red means stop!

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

This week has been declared “Indiana Stop on Red Week” by Governor Mitch Daniels. This declaration is an effort to prevent dangerous crashes that occurred last year when motorists disregarded the red light, killing 13 Hoosier motorists and injuring nearly 2,000.

INDOT Commissioner Karl B. Browning said, “Red light running crashes are a serious problem, and the tragedy here is most of these crashes are completely preventable.” He further noted that red light running is often the result of aggressive or impatient driving. “Drivers who run red lights don’t understand their dangerous decision can change, or even end, a life.”

In 2006 there were 2,772 red light running crashes in Indiana. According to statistics from the INDOT, 1,835 people were injured and 13 killed. Besides losing a life, the cost of running a red light is estimated at $14 billion a year.

Information from INDOT noted that motorists are more likely to be injured in a red light running crash than in any other type of crash. In 45 percent of the crashes, occupants of the vehicle were injured, compared to only 30 percent injured in other types of crashes. These crashes are more serious because they occur at higher speeds and are typically side-impact or head-on collisions.
While drivers who run a red light say they do so because they are in a hurry, they really are only saving 47 seconds.

Drivers are encouraged to begin driving in a manner that prevents red light crashes this week and continue with the habit. Some safety tips include:

• Be patient. Brake for yellow lights. On average, running a red light will save you just 47 seconds.

• Leave early. If you’re not rushing to get to your destination, you’ll be less likely to run a red light.

• Enter cautiously. Wait for the intersection to clear and look both directions before entering an intersection - even if the light is green.

• Look closely. Make sure you look at the color of the light before you enter the intersection - don’t just go because the car ahead of you is going.

• Take responsibility. When you’re driving, you’re not just responsible for your own life - the lives of your passengers and other motorists depend on your good decisions.

WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
The stoplight at the intersection of US 50 and US 421 in Versailles is a busy one. Businesses located on the corners include McDonalds, Marathon Mini Mart, and soon to be CVS. This makes the intersection a busy place. Motorists are urged to stop on red and not try to beat the light.