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A new study commissioned by the National Coalition for Safer Roads and FocusDriven has found that roughly 12 percent of red light violations are caused by distracted driving. The research looked at 118 intersections in 19 communities over a three-month time span. After reviewing stoplight camera images from those intersections, researchers found that approximately 12 percent could be attributed to distracted driving. Extrapolating that evidence to the US at large, the two safety organizations claim distracted driving could be responsible for as many as 7.3 million red light infractions per year.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has said drivers running red lights is the leading cause of accidents in urban settings. Combine that with the fact that the National Safety Council has singled out cell phone use as a factor in 21 percent of all crashes and it's easy to see reason for concern. You can read the full press release below for more information.
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New Findings Estimate 7.3 Million Red-Light Violations Nationwide Involved Distracted Driving in 2012

National Coalition for Safer Roads and FocusDriven Launch Joint Campaign to Raise Awareness on Distracted Driving and Intersection Safety

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and FocusDriven are joining forces to release a new analysis examining the impact of distracted driving on red-light running. With the release of the findings, the two traffic safety organizations are launching a new multimedia campaign effort, Stop Distraction on Red , to raise awareness about distracted driving and intersection safety. As school lets out for summer and millions of cars hit the road for family vacation, it is a timely reminder to put the phones away while driving.

A sample of 118 red-light safety camera intersections in 19 communities was looked at across a three-month period, finding that 12 percent of red-light violations during that time period were caused by distracted driving. From the sample findings it is estimated that 7,336,696 intersection violations across the United States were attributed to distracted driving in 2012.

Distracted driving is a pervasive threat on our roadways, particularly when it comes to cell phone use while driving. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use is a factor in 21 percent of crashes, and drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a car crash. The new analysis finds that there is a close connection between distracted driving and red-light running, which is the leading cause of urban crashes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The analysis also looks at the effect of distracted driving legislation on intersection violations by comparing the communities in the sample with strict cell phone bans in place with communities who have more lenient or no laws against cell phone use while driving. Less than 10 percent of red-light violations involved distracted driving in communities that have strict laws against cell phone use – compared to more than 16 percent in communities that do not. This finding suggests that strict cell phone bans reduce the risk of distracted driving by nearly 7 percent.

Highlights of the analysis include:

Distracted Driving's Impact on Red-Light Running
Projected number of distracted driving instances that led to red-light running for all 50 states and nationwide
Impact of Distracted Driving Legislation
Comparison of communities that have strict cell phone bans to those that have more lenient or no laws against cell phone use
In addition to release of the new analysis, the joint multimedia campaign effort includes an infographic, video elements and opportunity for partner collaborations. The campaign effort is led by NCSR President Melissa Wandall and FocusDriven Board Member and Survivor Advocate Jacy Good – two spokespeople who have been personally impacted by the dangers of red-light running and distracted driving. Wandall lost her husband in a red-light running collision when she was nine months pregnant with their daughter. Good lost her parents in a red-light running collision caused by a cell phone-distracted driver on the day of her college graduation. Good, who was also in the vehicle, has suffered long-term injuries.

For more information on the campaign and a copy of the full analysis, please visit www.StopDistractionOnRed.org.

About the National Coalition for Safer Roads
The National Coalition for Safer Roads helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior. NCSR brings together policymakers, community leaders and concerned citizens in support of red-light safety cameras, advocating for their use in cities and communities across the country. The National Coalition for Safer Roads is a 501 (c)(6) industry trade association. To learn more, please visit www.NCSRsafety.org , follow @SaferRoadsUSA on Twitter and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SaferRoadsUSA

About FocusDriven
Advocates for Cell-Free Driving is a nonprofit advocacy organization for victims of motor vehicle crashes involving drivers using cell phones. FocusDriven supports victims of cell phone distracted driving and families of victims. Its goal is to increase public awareness on the dangers of cell phone distracted driving by putting a human face on the disastrous impact of the behavior, in order to promote corresponding public policies, programs and personal responsibility. For more information visit www.focusdriven.org , follow @FocusDrivenOrg on Twitter and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/focusdriven .

SOURCE National Coalition for Safer Roads