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Discussion to focus on dangers of running lights

September 25, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Broken ribs, fractured pelvises and collapsed lungs are common injuries inflicted on drivers who accelerate through yellow and red traffic lights, and death is a possibility, said Dr. Tom Gilbert, medical director of the Washington County Hospital Emergency Room.

Gilbert and others will speak at a free informational session at Hagerstown Community College Thursday on the consequences of driving through red traffic lights.

He said he's dealt with accidents that were the result of drivers speeding through yellow and red lights in his six years at the hospital.

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"It's a major danger," he said. "Those accidents are preventable."

Gilbert said there is more impact in accidents involving drivers running lights because they often are accelerating, which makes serious injuries more possible.

The session begins at 10 a.m. at the College Center with speakers Gilbert, HCC Dean of Students Carl Galligan, and representatives from the college student government association, the Hagerstown Police Department and Maryland State Police.

The event, in its fourth year, is open to the public.

HCC was chosen as the site for the session because college-aged drivers are younger and less experienced, and would benefit from being educated on the subject, HCC spokeswoman Beth Stull said.

"We thought we'd pick a site that has impact," she said.

Informational displays created by the hospital, the Washington County Health Department and paramedic students, and a car that was involved in a red-light crash will be available at the conference.

The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running session is co-sponsored by HCC, the hospital, the health department, The Washington County Community Traffic Safety Program and The Maryland State Highway Administration's Highway Safety Office.

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