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Distracted driving involved in 7.3 million red-light violations in 2012
By Insure.com staff

A new study found that 12 percent of drivers who ran red lights were distracted at the intersections.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads and FocusDriven analyzed footage from 118 red-light safety camera intersections in 19 communities over a three-month period. From this sample, the groups estimate that distracted driving was involved in 7.3 million intersection violations nationwide in 2012.

The study recorded a variety of distractions. "Looking away" was the most common. It was involved in 43 percent of the red-light violations where the driver was distracted. Cell phone use was involved in about 39 percent of the violations where the driver was distracted. Other distractions accounted for about 18 percent of violations involving a distracted driver. The other distractions in order of prevalence were:

  • Eyes closed
  • Smoking
  • Drinking or eating
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading
The analysis also found that laws banning cell phone use while driving reduce risk. The researchers compared communities with strict cell phone bans in place with those with 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.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads is a nonprofit advocacy group for the use of red-light cameras, and FocusDriven promotes cell phone-free driving and supports victims of distracted driving and their families.

The two groups launched a joint campaign, "Stop distraction on red" to raise awareness about the dangers of red-light running and distracted driving. Red-light running is the No. 1 cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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