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Beware this weekend: Memorial Day brings out red light runners

Plenty of Maryland residents will be travelling up and down the East Coast this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day with friends and family. Should those families travel by car, though, they should heed the warning of a recent report by the National Coalition for Safer Roads.

The NCSR found that on Memorial Day weekend, more people take their chances with an iffy red light. Pulling the last year's data from an 18-state sample, the NCSR says about 2.3 million drivers ran a red light. When they looked at Memorial Day weekend in comparison to any other non-holiday weekend, the red light violations jumped 27%. With an increase in the number of people on the road (and the stress of travelling in congested streets), the car accident rate jumps with it.

But that wasn't the only information that came out of the report -- the NCSR also defined the peak hours during Memorial Day weekend in which red light violations happened. About 30.7% of red light running incidents took place between 1PM and 5PM.

"One of the things you also see on a weekend like this is heavy congestion," the president of NCSR said. He continued: "So you see people sitting at a light and they may have to wait for a cycle and they don't want to wait for a second cycle. So they go."

It's a very reasonable set of circumstances the president brings up, a situation that could happen anywhere in the country. In fact, the NCSR president stated that if the red light data had been applied to all 50 states, Memorial Day weekend would see 1.2 red light runners every second.

Source: USA Today, "Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says," Charisse Jones, May 23, 2012

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