It is a sight that, unfortunately, many in St. Louis have gotten used to seeing: two mangled cars sitting in an intersection after a crash. Many of these violent collisions occur because a driver gambled on speeding through the intersection though the light had already turned red.

According to a new study by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, these types of red-light motor vehicle crashes are steadily increasing. The group said its research shows driver deaths in red-light-running collisions reached a 10-year high in 2017 (the most recent year for which complete traffic statistics are available).

The lowest year in the study was 2009, when 715 people were killed in red-light crashes. The high was the 939 fatalities in 2017, which was an increase of 31 percent over the low.

The study included not only the driver in the vehicle running the red light, but passengers in the vehicle, as well as drivers and passengers in other vehicles. Pedestrian fatalities were also counted.

“More than half of all the people (killed) in these crashes were not the red-light-running drivers, not their passengers, but other people who they hit,” said AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

Though researchers did not try to pinpoint the causes of the crashes, they did say that they believe several factors are likely common contributors, including the increased miles people are driving each year. They also pointed at the steady rise in distracted driving as a factor.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a red-light crash or other car accident caused by someone’s reckless driving, contact a St. Louis attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.