That’s Not Rudolph, It’s a Red Light

Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer (Image courtesy of the Colorado State Patrol. facebook.com/ColoradoStatePatrol)

Hitting the gas instead of the brake when the traffic lights are changing, slow rolling through a stop sign or completely disregarding traffic control devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly decision.

As of December 10th, Colorado State Troopers have issued close to 2,000 citations to motorists disregarding or failing to obey traffic control devices such as stop signs, traffic lights and flashing red/yellow signal lights.

“The act of ignoring traffic control device is the decision to break a rule at everyone else’s expense. And, the ultimate cost in this case is death,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Intersections are inherently dangerous places. If we see you make a reckless choice, don’t expect a warning.”

According to Colorado State Patrol citation data, Troopers issued 1,740 disregarding traffic control device citations between January 1 through December 10, 2022. During this same time period in 2023, troopers have issued 1,991, a 14.4% increase.

The peak days for these citations were Monday and Tuesday closely followed by Friday. Citations were most prevalent between 7 am to 7 pm.

As red light running appears to be accelerating across Colorado communities, it is helpful to see how Colorado compares to the rest of the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent red-light data (2021) found that 1,109 people died due to red-light running. When the states were ranked, Colorado was the sixth highest state with 44 lives lost.  

“If you are distracted behind the wheel or impatient and fail to obey a traffic control device, can you live with the consequence of harming your passenger or the pedestrian you failed to see,” asked Col. Packard? “Traffic violence can stem from seemingly harmless behaviors. As a driver, it is your responsibility to stay alert and follow the rules that keep all road users safe.”

Terry West
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