Amid complaints of red-light running, Bismarck police say traffic citations and collisions have decreased from historic averages

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 7:08 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Whether you zone out when driving or are simply impatient, running a red light is against the law. There are roughly two fatal red-light accidents a day in the United States and that number is on the rise according to AAA.

Thousands of people hit the roads each day in North Dakota, so it’s no surprise that some motorists have traffic concerns.

“People are in a hurry, I’m sure, and do run red lights,” said Bismarck resident Steve Goroski.

10 people wrote to Bismarck police complaining specifically of red-light runners in the 2021 citizen survey. Still, the preliminary numbers for 2021 show that citations for red lights are down about 1.5% from historical averages.

“Most of the traffic citations were down, a lot of that was COVID related where there just wasn’t a lot of traffic the first part of the year. It’s starting to increase now obviously,” said Lt. Jeff Solemsaas, traffic commander for Bismarck Police Department.

Four years ago, blue confirmation lights were installed at intersections to help catch red light runners.

“Officers can be sitting off to the side and when that light comes on, they know the driver has run the red light,” said Lt. Solemsaas.

For police to issue a ticket they must identify the driver according to state law so red-light cameras are not used, but surveillance video can be requested from nearby businesses/homes for accident investigations.

Officers say the methods they employ now, along with vigilant drivers help contain the issue.

“As the community continues to grow, we are seeing more traffic, but our collision rates are going down a little bit,” said Lt. Solemsaas.

The fee for a red-light violation is $40. The fee for a stop sign violation went up in the last legislative session to $80.

Police say a red-light violation occurs when a car enters the intersection after the light has turned red.

There have been 10 fatal crashes this year in North Dakota, no information is available as of now linking any of those deaths to red light running.

Copyright 2022 KFYR. All rights reserved.