February 3, 2014 -- Santa Monica police will be on the lookout this month for drivers who fail to stop at red lights or stop signs, violations that account for most urban crashes nationwide.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), an average of seven fatal crashes and more than 1,000 injury crashes take place every day at signalized intersections across the country.
And while nearly every driver -- 93 percent -- believes running a red light is unacceptable, one in three said they did so during the past 30 days, according to a study by the American Automotive Association.
“The tragedies and costs resulting from red-light running are preventable,” NHTSA officials said.
According to the California Vehicle Code, “the driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.
“If there is no limit line or crosswalk, the driver shall stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway,” according to the code.
The Code also requires a driver approaching a stop sign at a railroad grade crossing to “stop to at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before crossing the first track or entrance to the railroad grade crossing.”
“These laws pertain to bicyclists as well,” said Lieutenant Jay Trisler.
Local authorities can place stop signs at any location on a highway under its jurisdiction where the stop sign “would enhance traffic safety,” according to the State Code.
Each month, the Santa Monica Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit focuses on different driving behaviors that are the primary causes for traffic collisions, officials said.