OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Simple traffic violations can become dangerous incidents.
That’s why police in Overland Park are focusing on red light runners — people who don’t stop at traffic signals before they turn red.
Traffic officers will focus on major intersections, using extra patrol officers in addition to existing traffic cameras. Overland Park Police shared traffic cam video clips with FOX4 News showing mishaps that happen when drivers don’t stop for red lights, including fender benders and pedestrian crashes.
“What we’re seeing is that people aren’t paying attention to the roadway,” Overland Park Police Ofc. John Lacy said.
Running a red light in Overland Park will cost violators points against their licenses, and fines of roughly $130. Lacy said traffic officers will concentrate on three major intersections:
- I-435 and Metcalf Ave.
- I-435 and Quivira Rd.
- 75th and Metcalf Ave.
“If someone goes through an intersection on a red light, and they t-bone another vehicle, you’re looking at an injury accident or a fatality accident,” Lacy said.
Young drivers in Overland Park can begin their training at age 14. Longtime driving instructor Matt Walberg, who works with Behind the Wheel, Inc., said he encourages drivers to think about red lights while lights are still green, and to be prepared to slow down and stop at the first sight of yellow.
“The stale green light that’s just about to turn, you don’t know when it’s going to turn,” Walberg said. “That red light is so dangerous. If you run it, chances are you’re going to hit someone coming the other way. You’re driving what could be a two-ton killing machine.“
Police said much of this summertime focus is on young drivers, since they’re usually inexperienced behind the wheel. Lacy said the extra officers used for red light enforcement come from schools. In fact, they’re school resource officers — reassigned to a crucial role for the summer.