In August, Florida observed ‘Stop on Red Week,’ an initiative held each year to raise public awareness of the dangers of disregarding red traffic signals. Sadly, the message doesn’t appear to be getting through. 28% of US drivers admit to running red lights and US deaths from red light running accidents have risen to 1,109 in 2021.
In Florida, traffic signal violations are also rising, with over a million violations reported in 2022. The state ranks third for deaths caused by red-light running accidents, with a higher death rate than many other states including California and Texas.
If you or someone near you has been implicated in an accident at a signaled intersection, it’s important to promptly consult a car accident attorney. These accidents can be legally complex, and rights to compensation will often hinge heavily on the competence of your legal representation. Let’s examine why.
Our permissive yellow light laws in Florida can lead to hazardous situations at signaled intersections and create legal ambiguity following accidents.
Florida drivers are permitted to enter signaled intersections during yellow. This differs from some other states, such as Mississippi where drivers shouldn’t proceed into intersections if a stop can safely be made. Our permissive approach is intended to offer flexibility and maintain traffic flow. However, this elevates the risk of accidents.
One major issue is the pressure on drivers, who feel rushed to make quick decisions at yellow. This can lead to erratic behavior, like accelerating to beat a red light or stopping suddenly to avoid the intersection. This is especially dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, and it increases the risk of rear-end and side-impact accidents.
Vehicles entering an intersection during yellow worsen congestion, especially in Miami and other busy Florida cities. Drivers entering yellow often get caught in the middle as the light changes, blocking cross traffic and causing gridlock. This disrupts traffic flow and heightens the risk of collisions, as cross-traffic drivers may not anticipate stopped vehicles.
Ambiguity also arises from differing interpretations of the yellow light rule. Florida attracts 40 million tourists annually, who enter our signaled intersections by foot, bicycle, and car. Many are from areas with less permissive laws at signaled intersections, such as Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Mexico and European Union countries. Unfamiliar with Florida’s laws, these tourists might stop abruptly at yellow, causing rear-end collisions, or enter intersections expecting oncoming traffic to halt, causing side-impact collision risks.
In Florida, proving the other driver’s negligence following an accident can increase a victim’s rights to compensation.
Where negligence on behalf of the other driver is not established, a victim will typically claim compensation through their own insurance company for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses incurred as a result of the accident–but only up to a certain limit–and it won’t reimburse pain and suffering or property damage.
To gain reimbursement for pain and suffering, property damage, and injuries that exceed the limits of PIP coverage, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against the other driver. To do this, you must prove the other driver was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries.
Figuring out who is at fault following an accident at a signaled intersection can get complicated. Did the driver enter the intersection when the light was still yellow? Was it unsafe to stop? The answers aren’t always straightforward. This is where a car accident attorney is vital.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, our network of experienced accident reconstructionists investigates accident scenes to uncover evidence of driver negligence. This includes examining for evidence of red-light running, distracted driving, DUI, and reckless behavior.
Red light camera footage often plays an important role in such investigations. Florida has one of the most extensive networks of red light cameras in the US, with high densities of cameras throughout Miami, Orlando and Tampa. These can provide crucial evidence to establish negligence. However, effectively interpreting and leveraging this evidence in legal proceedings demands expert legal counsel.
Following an accident at a Florida signaled intersection, consult a car accident attorney at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein. We will help you deal with insurance companies to maximize compensation and we will rigorously examine whether negligence was at play. Don’t leave the outcome to chance. Call us today at 305-371-2692, or schedule a free consultation online. From our Miami office, we serve residents throughout Florida.