Nearly one in ten New York City drivers run red lights, a study by Hunter College has found.
Of the thousands of motorists observed at 50 intersections across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, 283 — just under 9% — ran a red light.
As defined by researchers, a vehicle was counted as having ran the light if the signal was red before the entire vehicle passed through the intersection.
Researchers from the Urban Affairs and Sociology departments at Hunter also recorded the types of vehicles passing through intersections, gender of the driver, and how a driver ran the red light. For instance, in New York it is illegal for a driver to turn right on red. Other drivers (1.7%) paused before proceeding through the intersection.
This is the first study of its kind in the United States, researchers note, despite their being plentiful data on accidents caused by red-light running. A 2015 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that, in 2012, there were 683 deaths and 133,000 injuries caused by drivers running red signals.
Pedestrian safety has been a key focus of City Hall since Mayor de Blasio’s election. His “Vision Zero” plan, launched in 2014, involves lowering speed limits and installing red light cameras on intersections throughout the city. The cameras, a 2014 study by the New York City Department of Transportation found, caused a steep decline in red light running since their first installation over a decade ago.
“Mayor de Blasio should be praised for launching Vision Zero,” said Sociology Professor Peter Tuckel, one of the three principal investigators of the study. “But if Vision Zero is going to succeed, then we also need the tolerance level for red light runners to be zero.
“The mind set and driving habits of many motorists are going to have to change.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.