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Fatal crashes caused by drivers who run red lights rising fast

Minnesota drivers have been better than the national average.

A new report from AAA shows that fatal accidents caused by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high. 

The latest annual data comes from 2017, when 939 people – drivers, passengers and pedestrians – died in crashes caused by drivers ignoring or failing to see red lights on U.S. roadways, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which cites crash data from the government.

On average, 2.4 people are killed every day by red-light runners since 2008, and the number has been on the rise. Minnesota is slightly below the national average, at 1.6 deaths caused by red-light crashes each year since 2008. 

The 2017 numbers blow away any other year between 2008-16. 

  • 2008: 799 (deaths)
  • 2009: 715
  • 2010: 726
  • 2011: 754
  • 2012: 731
  • 2013: 739
  • 2014: 761
  • 2015: 831
  • 2016: 874

In Minnesota, there has been between 6-11 red-light running traffic deaths every year since 2008, for a total of 91 during the 10-year data cycle. Fifty of those 91 deaths were identified as occupants of vehicles hit by red-light runners. 

"I wish we had a better answer than we do," senior researcher Brian Tefft said in an interview with the AP. Tefft suggests distracted driving as a possible reason for the increase. 

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