A few hours before rush hour this morning, a 24-year-old man was speeding down Broadway Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, when he ran a red light and crashed his Dodge Charger into a truck carrying steel. He later died at MetroHealth Medical Center, where his passenger, 31-year old Marquis Andrews, was treated for unknown injuries. According to several Cleveland online news publications, neither was wearing his seatbelt. The truck driver involved in the accident thankfully walked away unscathed.
Ohio fines for not wearing your seatbelt are pretty cheap — $30 for drivers; $20 for passengers – but your life is valuable. And, as you should well know by now, wearing one lowers your chances of sustaining fatal and moderate injuries in car accidents. According to Ohio.gov’s Department of Public Safety website, Ohio police issued 34,914 seatbelt tickets between January 1, 2012, and May 22, 2012, compared to 29,687 during the same time span last year.
According to CityofDayton.org’s Red Light and Speed Enforcement Cameras page, “National statistics indicate that excessive speed is a contributing factor in one-third of all fatal accidents.” According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, speed contributed to 31 percent of 334,089 crashes that occurred in Ohio in 2007. Over 1,200 people died.
A decade ago, Old Dominion assistant professor of psychology Bryan Porter conducted a national survey in which 56 percent of respondents reported running a red light. Younger drivers – like Kelley – non-parents, people with low-technology or blue-collar jobs, and the unemployed constituted the majority. Interestingly, unbuckled drivers – like Kelley – were far more likely not to stop for a red light. Coincidentally, DaimlerChrysler Corp. underwrote Porter’s study and built the car Kelley was driving. According to Porter’s survey, drivers are more apt to run red lights on a weekday morning while driving to work or to school.
“Stopping at a red light loses you a minute, maybe two,” Porter wrote. “And that’s the worst-case scenario. You run a red light, you cause a crash. You hurt someone or yourself. The police come. You go to court. You have to fix your car. All to save two minutes. That’s it: two minutes.”