PHOENIX -- Valley families torn apart by distracted and careless drivers are using National Stop on Red Week (Aug. 3-9) to call on adults to set better examples.
"Young children seem to understand that red means stop," says Frank Hinds, executive director of the Red Means Stop Coalition. "But, too often we see parents throw common sense and safety out the window as they rush to get to work or take the kids to school."
When Hinds speaks to driver education classes he is shocked by some of the stories.
"Teenage drivers have told us when they ask their parents not to drive and talk on their phones they are told to shut up and mind their own business," he said.
Hinds, whose daughter, Jennifer, was killed by a red-light runner, is calling on all adults to set better examples for impressionable children and to help make our roads safer for everyone.
Howard Fleischmann, who lost his son, a Marine, to a red-light runner in 2007, said kids emulate their parents -- both their good habits and their bad ones.
"We are the role models for our children. They're watching us," Fleischmann told 3TV's Heidi Goitia. "What you're showing your children is how they're going to perform in the future. ... This is life and death."
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 623 fatal crashes due to red light running in 2012. Those crashes killed 680 people across the country. While Arizona has improved over the last 15 years in red light running crashes we remain in the top five for violators behind California, Florida, Texas and Michigan.
Full attention is required behind the wheel. That doesn't mean 95 percent - it's 100 percent. Arizona families who've lost loved ones to red-light runners are asking you to put down the phone, keep your eyes on the road and your car at a safe speed.