On average, more than two Americans are killed every day by drivers who plow through red lights, and the figure is growing, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The organization says that in 2017, the last year for which figures are available, the number of red-light deaths—including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians—hit 939, USA Today reports. The study looked at the counts from the 2008 to 2017 period, and 2017 far outpaced the other years, seven of which were in the 700-range.
The figure hit a low of 715 in 2009. In 2012, it was at 731, and the count has climbed in each of the five following years. AAA analysts say they're not sure why the figure rose 28% between 2012 and 2017, a rate far higher than the 10% overall rise in road deaths. "I wish we had a better answer than we do," senior researcher Brian Tefft tells the AP. He suspects distracted driving is a big part of the problem, along with traffic light cycles that may not spend enough time on yellow. (Read more traffic light stories.)