The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running (SRLR), an independent advocacy group, is turning up the heat on motorists who run red lights – a traffic violation, the group warns, that kills 250 people a day in the United States at a cost of $7 billion a year.

"There is a great deal of well-justified concern for this problem around the nation," said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Studies have shown that red-light running is one of the most frequent and unpunished traffic offenses, occurring as frequently as once every five minutes at some intersections."

According to the Florida Community Traffic Safety Teams Coalition, in 2000, red light runners caused 9,323 crashes, 114 fatalities, 13,926 personal injuries and $346 million in economic loss in Florida alone. Nationwide, added the SRLR, between 1992 and 1998, fatal motor vehicle crashes at traffic signals increased 18%, outpacing the 6% rise in all other fatal crashes.

"The problem of red-light running needs to be addressed through public awareness and public policy change," said Leslie Blakey, SRLR coordinator. "Increased enforcement and technology such as red-light cameras can make a big difference in deterring this deadly behavior."