The AA is calling for tighter discipline among a minority of motorists who have the bad habit of taking a risk at traffic lights. The latest AA Motor Insurance Poll shows that 7.6% of drivers in Ireland break red lights at least occasionally.
Only a quarter of the 15,600 motorists polled by AA Motor Insurance said they have never broken a red light and just 49.3% said they slow down when approaching an amber light. A further 2.2% admitted to habitually putting their foot down to squeeze through on amber, ignoring the rules of the road. “Most motorists in Ireland behave well on the road, but there is a reckless minority.” Says John Farrell, Director of Insurance AA Ireland.
“While we appreciate that getting caught at the lights can be a real pain, and the temptation is there when the way appears clear, it’s just not worth the potential consequences,” says John Farrell, Director of Insurance AA Ireland.
The results of the AA Motor Insurance poll also indicate that male drivers are more likely than females to intentionally break a red light every now and again. 8.9% of male motorists compared with 5.7% of females admitted to the traffic violation.
In light of these findings, John Farrell, Director of Insurance, AA Ireland reminds motorists “Not only is running a red light highly dangerous, massively increasing your risk of a collision, it’s also a penalty point offence which may affect future discounts on your motor insurance premiums.”
According to the latest available figures, during 2009 in the region of 280,000 penalty points were issued to motorists caught running a red light. Motorists caught breaking a red light can also expect to receive an €80 fine reminds the AA.
A higher percentage of motorists in Louth than in any other county admitted to knowingly breaking a red light at least occasionally. 1 in 10 Louth respondents admitted to ignoring red lights from time to time, while a further 0.3% said they did so regularly. Following this, the AA Motor Insurance Poll identified drivers in counties Leitrim and Dublin as some of the worst culprits for running red lights.
The AA is inviting motorists via their blog, http://blog.aaireland.ie/ to share their views on whether or not they believe red light traffic cameras should be introduced as a means of detecting traffic light infringements at some of the country’s most dangerous junctions. The AA also reminds motorists of the Rules of the Road when it comes to traffic lights.
The Rules of the Road regarding traffic lights:
- A red light means STOP. If the traffic lights is red as you approach it you must not go beyond the accompanying stop line.
- When the light is green, you may proceed but only with caution.
- When the light is amber you cannot go beyond the traffic light stop line or light itself in the absence of a line. ONLY if you are so close to the line/traffic light when the light in question turns amber that it would be unsafe to bring your vehicle to a stop can you continue through an amber light.
- A green filter light (arrow) means you are permitted to follow the direction of the arrow provided it is safe and clear to do so.
- If turning right at traffic lights where there is a right facing arrow, you can drive into the junction when the traffic lights turn green, making sure not to obstruct the flow of oncoming traffic. When it is safe to do so, complete your right hand turn. You are not obliged to wait for the green filter arrow to appear provided you get a safe opportunity to turn right before it appears.
- When you see a flashing, left pointing amber arrow leading into a junction you may proceed to the left provided you give way to traffic already driving through the junction on the road you are entering.
Notes to the editor;
- Rules of the Road Specific to traffic lights can be obtained at www.rulesoftheroad.ie/rules-for-driving/traffic-lights-and-signals/traffic-lights.html
Fig. 1 Frequency with which motorists break red lights and overview of behaviors around amber lights (Based on 15,648 responses):
|I have never broken a fully operational red light||25.3%|
|I have broken a red light as the traffic lights weren’t working||32.9%|
|I will break a red light if there is not other traffic on the road||3.6%|
|I occasionally break red lights||7.3%|
|I regularly break red lights||0.3%|
|I sometimes speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||45.9%|
|I consistently speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||2.2%|
|I slow down when I see an amber light||49.3%|
Fig. 2 Frequency with which FEMALE motorists break red lights and overview of behaviors around amber lights (Based on 6,330 responses):
|I have never broken a red light||26.8%|
|I have broken a red light as the traffic lights weren’t working||27.9%|
|I will break a red light if there is not other traffic on the road||1.8%|
|I occasionally break red lights||5.7%|
|I regularly break red lights||0.0%|
|I sometimes speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||46.8%|
|I consistently speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||1.6%|
|I slow down when I see an amber light||47.8%|
Fig. 3 Frequency with which MALE motorists break red lights and overview of behaviors around amber lights (Based on 8,601 responses):
|I have never broken a red light||23.9%|
|I have broken a red light as the traffic lights weren’t working||37.2%|
|I will break a red light if there is not other traffic on the road||4.9%|
|I occasionally break red lights||8.5%|
|I regularly break red lights||0.4%|
|I sometimes speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||45.8%|
|I consistently speed up when I see an amber light to make sure I get through||2.6%|
|I slow down when I see an amber light||50.6%|
Fig. 4 County by county split of drivers who are in regular or occasional habit of breaking red lights.
|Carlow ( 153 responses)||3.9%||0.0%|
|Cavan ( 165 responses)||3.0%||0.0%|
|Clare ( 299 responses)||5.4%||0.3%|
|Cork ( 1,688 responses)||7.4%||0.2%|
|Donegal (227 responses)||4.8%||0.0%|
|Dublin ( 5672 responses)||8.3%||0.3%|
|Galway ( 678 responses)||7.6%||0.1%|
|Kerry ( 257 responses)||3.5%||0.4%|
|Kildare ( 1012 responses)||7.7%||0.1%|
|Kilkenny (200 responses)||4.5%||0.0%|
|Laois (186 responses)||2.7%||0.5%|
|Leitrim (81 responses)||9.9%||0.0%|
|Limerick (519 responses)||7.6%||0.0%|
|Longford ( 88 responses)||4.5%||0.0%|
|Louth (330 responses)||10.0%||0.3%|
|Mayo (278 responses)||4.0%||0.4%|
|Meath (706 responses)||4.0%||0.4%|
|Monaghan (80 responses)||3.8%||0.0%|
|Offaly (150 responses)||4.7%||0.0%|
|Roscommon ( 154 responses)||3.9%||1.3%|
|Sligo (159 responses)||7.5%||0.0%|
|Tipperary (340 responses)||5.7%||0.3%|
|Waterford ( 329 responses)||7.3%||0.0%|
|Westmeath ( 219 responses)||5.0%||0.0%|
|Wexford (425 responses)||4.8%||0.5%|
|Wicklow ( 675 responses)||7.4%||0.0%|
 Data sourced from the Road Safety Authority, www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Road-Safety/Our-Research/Penalty-Point-Statistics/