Yesterday afternoon, 19-year old Terrence Clarke, a University of Kentucky basketball player, died in a car crash in Los Angeles. Based on reports, he had run a red light and crashed into a vehicle that was making a left hand turn. Clarke’s car then hit a light pole and a brick wall.
According to reporting by ESPN, Clarke was driving “at a high rate of speed” when he ran the red light. It was also reported that Clarke was not properly wearing his seatbelt. The crash was captured on surveillance video, per the reports.
Clarke’s family and friends are devastated by their loss and have expressed their condolences on social media. Before being sidelined by an injury, Clarke started in Kentucky’s first six games and was one of its top scorers. Clarke had recently declared for the NBA draft in March.
While we know only the above facts about Clarke’s tragic accident, the speeding and disregard of a red light reminds us of many crashes we’ve seen like this. Sadly, in our combined 50+ years of experience as Las Vegas car accident attorneys, this is not the first time we have seen crashes like this, resulting from, amongst other things, speeding and running red lights.
Although we generally learn in driver’s education that yellow means slow down or use caution, in reality, many do not follow this rule. Unfortunately, many drivers see a yellow light and speeds up to try to beat the impending red light. On the other side of traffic, those whose lights turn green do not wait to see if the cars from cross-traffic will stop at the red light or misjudge the speed of cross-traffic. They just assume they will.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, more than 800 people were killed in 2016 in crashes involving running traffic signals. In that same year, an estimated 137,000 were injured as a result of not obeying traffic lights.
A study conducted by a University of Cincinnati doctoral student found that several factors influence a driver’s decision to try to beat the light. For one, the study found that the faster a car is going when the light switches to yellow, the more likely it is to pass through the light. The study also concluded the longer the yellow light is on, the likelihood of a driver trying to beat it increases.