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New Findings Estimate 7.3 Million Red-Light Violations Nationwide Involved Distracted Driving in 2012

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

WASHINGTON--June 6, 2013: 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 StopDistractedDriving.