Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler September 17, 2015

Throughout Texas, red-light runners menace innocent drivers, but nowhere more than in Houston.

According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Houston had more red-light running fatalities than any city in the United States from 2004-2013, recording 181 deaths. Dallas was seventh on the list with 71 fatalities after drivers ran red lights.

Red-Light Camera Controversy

Ironically, the thing that’s been found to do most to reduce red-light runner crashes is exactly what Houston adopted, then abandoned, during that time span: so-called “red-light cameras.”

Operating automatically while affixed above intersections, such cameras capture images — and license plate numbers — of vehicles running red lights, after which their drivers are sent citations and fined.

Houston began using red-light cameras in September of 2006, but they were discontinued in November of 2010 after voters banned them. Opponents of the controversial cameras complained that they lined the pockets of a for-profit business that installed them for the city and served no other purpose.

Tell that to the 200,000 persons injured each year by red-light runners, who are the No. 1 cause of injuries in urban collisions, and the 800 persons killed by them. Those figures are from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As far as costs go, those deaths, injuries and damages to vehicles cost Americans $378 million per month from 2007-2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Do Red-Light Cameras Help?

According to the NHTSA, red-light running crash deaths dropped 22% nationwide between 2007 and 2011, a time when the number of communities using red-light cameras rose by 135%.

A total of 201 fewer persons died in such crashes in 2011 compared to 2007, the NHTSA says, and that involved $1.2 billion in savings.

As for Houston, statistics show that crashes in intersections across the city more than doubled after red-light cameras were removed from the select locations where they’d been operating.

During the four years in which red-light cameras were used in Houston, 50 high-risk intersections featuring the cameras had 4,100 crashes. During the next four years after cameras were removed, crashes more than doubled, with 9,000 in those intersections. Fatal crashes also rose 30%.

What was that again about red-light cameras’ only purpose being to pad the pockets of their creators?

Alternatives to Red-Light Cameras

But for cities whose residents balk at paying fines after being caught by a camera, there are alternatives to red-light cameras. One of them is to decrease the duration of yellow lights serving to caution drivers that a red light is next.

The Federal Highway Administration advises that yellow lights last from three to six seconds. The FHA believes drivers disregard yellow lights if they last too long and points to studies showing that longer yellow lights actually contribute to an increase in auto crashes.

A far less practical strategy is to create more “roundabout” intersections with no red lights, but rather yield signs and merging traffic, as at the traffic circle on South Main in Houston near the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Who Dies in Red-Light Crashes?

As for who is likely to die in red-light crashes, the IIHS says half of them are red-light runners, and the other half are drivers or pedestrians struck by them.

Pedestrians, of course, are especially vulnerable, with 32,000 pedestrians injured and 933 killed at intersections in the U.S. in 2012, reports the NHTSA.

As for cars being hit, one reason such crashes are so catastrophic is that they tend to be high-speed collisions. Drivers who run red lights often are in a hurry and are heedless of other drivers.

Houston is America’s Most Dangerous City for Red Light Runners

A new survey by the National Coalition for Safer Roads shows Houston leads the nation for red light car crash fatalities

The coalition — a non-profit Texas organization geared toward road safety — ranked Dallas No. 7 in its survey of red light crash deaths. San Antonio did not make the list.

In the 10-year period of the survey from 2004-2013, Houston recorded 181 fatalities due to drivers running red lights, while Dallas recorded 71. Over the same span, a total of 7,799 people died nationwide. In 2013 alone, 697 persons were killed and 127,000 were injured in car accidents caused by drivers running red lights.

According to the coalition, drivers who run red lights are the No. 1 cause of injuries in urban collisions. Among those who are killed, the survey found that about 50% are pedestrians, bicyclists and persons in vehicles hit by red light runners . The other half are drivers and passengers of vehicles running red lights.

The complete list of Top 10 cities for red light fatalities includes:

  • Houston, TX
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Chicago, IL
  • Miami, FL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Denver, CO

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has compiled similar statistics, reporting that 800 people die and 200,000 are injured annually in collisions in which a driver ran a red light. In fact, the IIHS found that a red light accident occurs once every 12 minutes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says these crashes are especially dangerous since they so often involve a vehicle being hit on the side, or broadside. The NHTSA says rush hour is the most dangerous time for red light runners, with an accident occurring every 5 minutes.

Runners Heat Up in Summer

The coalition found that red light runners are more prevalent during peak travel times during summer holidays, notably Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. During holiday weekends related to those days, 1-5 p.m. on Fridays was the most dangerous time.

In all, the coalition found that over 3.7 million drivers ran a red light during 2014.

How to Reduce Red-Light Running

The IIHS says one good way to reduce red light running is to install cameras at intersections. The IIHS did studies in Oxnard, CA, Fairfax, VA and Arlington, VA that showed drops of up to 40% after red light cameras were installed to capture photos of offenders’ license plates without a police presence. Lawbreakers then are sent a citation via mail.

The IIHS says increasing the time a yellow light is displayed by one second also may reduce red light running. Alternatively, roundabouts also may reduce accidents at intersections, though this potential solution is less practical to implement.

The City of Houston had red light cameras for several years, but in 2010 voters passed a referendum calling a halt to the cameras, which had been placed in scattered intersections across the city.

If a loved one in your family was injured or killed by a driver who ran a red light, notify the car accident lawyers of Jim Adler & Associates. You may be legally entitled to substantial financial recovery for your losses.

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Testimonials

Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
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Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.
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