Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop On Red

I went home for lunch today. While I was eating, I heard sirens pass by on the street below but didn't give it much thought, as there is a fire station nearby and I live on a main street, so they drive by frequently. But as I was heading back to work, I found they had blocked off the street just west of my building and traffic was being diverted away from the next intersection. As I turned my car around and drove back towards the office along a different route, I heard on the news that a woman had been struck and killed by a car while crossing the street at that intersection and the baby she had been pushing in a stroller had been thrown but was not hurt. It was reported that the 83 year old driver ran a red light and charges are now pending.

It is both sad and ironic to hear that "Stop on Red Week" began today. According to Citytv's online news, "it means that all this week cops will be on the lookout for drivers proceeding through intersections when they shouldn't be.

How serious are the consequences? Consider this: police stats show 29 percent of crashes involve red light running, and a full 22 percent of all traffic fatalities showing up a few years ago were from those proceeding through a stop light. More than a thousand charges have already been laid so far this year.

"Red light running is often the result of aggressive driving, and therefore is completely preventable," insists Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski of the O.P.P. Highway Safety Division.

"The time saved by running a red light - an average of 47 seconds - is not worth the potential human suffering and financial costs.""

Unfortunately, this program will not provide any consolation to the family of the woman who was killed today. But she is on my mind tonight. It feels strange to have been that close to this accident, to have driven through that intersection only 10 or 15 minutes before it happened, to have been calmly eating my lunch while the paramedics tried to save her life, to have been mildly annoyed at having to turn around and find another way back to the office.

It just goes to show, once again, that life is unpredictable. Things happen in an instant that can't be reversed but which can be avoided if you're being careful and paying attention. My friend Kate told me I had just run a red light when we were driving in Toulouse in 2008. I didn't see the light and I hope she was wrong, but these things happen sometimes when you're distracted (as I was then, we were trying to find the train station in a strange city with foreign language street signs) or if you're driving too fast to stop in time.

Please drive carefully and as they say, watch out for the other guy. As they also say, the life you save could be your own.

1 comment:

Trinisunshine said...

Hi Cynthia, that accident broke my heart.It's really amazing how fast our lives can be changed by our actions. My heart goes out ot the family of the victim and even to the 83 year old who is responsible.

On a more positive note, thank you for sharing BJP with me, I'm really enjoying it. I left after collecting my bag of beads so I couldn't thank you in person.

Have a great day.