A 37-year-old man was killed Friday in Vernal after his vehicle struck the back of a school bus. Excessive speed caused the collision to occur, as the driver, Orlando Octavio Ramirez, ran a red light and struck the back right corner of the bus. The event occurred at 5:45 AM. Mr. Ramirez died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash; there were no children on board the bus at the time of the crash.
We express our condolences to Mr. Ramirez’ family at this time.
Tale of the tape
According to the Federal Highway Administration, red light running causes nearly 1,000 deaths and about 90,000 accidents each year. These numbers are on the rise; between 1992 and 1998 red light crashes increased at a rate of 18%. What’s worse, though, is that 96% of drivers fear being hit by a red light runner upon entering an intersection, yet 56% of drivers admit to running red lights. The problem, therefore, is that we are afraid of drivers like, well, ourselves.
Another factor is a lack of implementation of automated technology. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Utah’s red light camera enforcement rating is poor. Many states have started using automated enforcement to prevent things such as red light running, passing a stopped school bus, or failing to obey a railroad-crossing signal. Utah has done virtually none of this. Its systems only allow for one photograph to be taken, yet the issue of to whom the citation is given, if the vehicle is even identified, is not addressed. For these automated systems to be able to enforce themselves, the infraction must occur in a school zone or where the speed limit is less than 30mph, an officer must be present, and a local ordinance is required for the system to be in place. Thus, there is little ‘automatic’ about these systems.
Utah still has some work to do to further implement the efficacy of these automated systems. What is foremost, though, is that we must be cognoscente of our own attitudes as drivers. It is often a split-second decision that makes the difference between waiting the extra 30 seconds at a stoplight, and choosing to risk our own life, as well as many others, by gaining an extra half a minute.
Your Needs First
If you or a loved one have been in a deadly accident in Utah as a result of another’s negligence, you need someone who understands the law and understands you. The lawyers at the Christensen Law Firm will put your legal and emotional needs first. Call us at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation.