That’s Not Rudolph, It’s a Red Light

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(COLO) – Hitting the gas instead of the brake when the traffic lights are changing, slow rolling through a stop sign or completely disregarding traffic control devices are dangerous and potentially deadly decisions. As of December 10, Colorado State Troopers issued nearly 2,000 citations in 2023 to motorists disregarding or failing to obey traffic control devices such as stop signs, traffic lights and flashing red/yellow signal lights.

“Ignoring traffic control devices is the decision to break a rule at everyone else’s expense. And, the ultimate cost in this case is death,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Intersections are inherently dangerous places. If we see you make a reckless choice, don’t expect a warning.”

According to Colorado State Patrol citation data, Troopers issued 1,740 disregarding traffic control device citations between January 1 through December 10, 2022. During this same time period in 2023, troopers have issued 1,991, a 14.4% increase.

The peak days for these citations were Monday and Tuesday, closely followed by Friday. Citations were most prevalent between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As red light running appears to be accelerating across Colorado communities, it is helpful to see how Colorado compares to the rest of the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent red-light data (2021) found that 1,109 people died from red-light running. When the states were ranked, Colorado was the sixth highest state, with 44 lives lost.  

“If you are distracted behind the wheel or impatient and fail to obey a traffic control device, can you live with the consequence of harming your passenger or the pedestrian you failed to see,” asked Col. Packard. “Traffic violence can stem from seemingly harmless behaviors. As a driver, you are responsible for staying alert and following the rules that keep all road users safe.”

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations, impaired driving and speeding while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to reflect on everything they love and value and plan a sober ride when planning to celebrate.



Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.