With an alarming number of law enforcement officers being killed each year in automobile crashes—including a growing number in red light-running collisions—the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is teaming up with the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running and other traffic safety advocates in observing National Stop on Red Week 2007, which runs from August 5–11.
In recent years, red light running has become a growing danger for motorists and law enforcement officers alike. According to NLEOMF records, at least 18 officers nationwide have been killed in red light-running collisions since 1980. And the number has increased sharply in recent years. From two such officer fatalities in the 1980s, there were four in the 1990s and 12 already since the year 2000.
"Overall, fatal auto crashes involving officers have increased 34 percent over the past three decades, and red light running has certainly contributed to that alarming trend," said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the NLEOMF, whose "Drive Safely" campaign works to reduce the risks officers face on our roadways. "While it is something all of us learned at an early age, too many drivers seem to have forgotten the simple fact that red means stop, every time."
The recent deaths include two officers killed by red light runners during 2006.
The 18 officer fatalities involving red light-running collisions since 1980 include three in Florida, two each in Arizona, California, Illinois and Indiana, and one each in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington state.
Said Mr. Floyd, "The devastation of red light running is compounded when our law enforcement officers—the very people who put their lives on the line every day to protect the rest of us—are seriously injured or killed in red light-running crashes. These senseless tragedies deprive our communities of their protectors and the officers' families of their loved ones."
Originally organized by the Federal Highway Administration and now spearheaded by the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, National Stop on Red Week aims to raise public awareness of the seriousness of this all-too-common danger, as well as the law enforcement practices and tools that can make the nation's roadways safer.
"Each day, more than 100 Americans die in traffic crashes, but the technology exists to drastically reduce these numbers. We must start looking at our highway safety problems differently and help police crack down on aggressive and inattentive drivers," said Leslie Blakey, Executive Director of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running.
For more information on National Stop on Red Week, visit www.stopredlightrunning.com. For information on the NLEOMF's Drive Safely campaign, visit www.NationalPoliceMemorial.com and click on "Drive Safely."