Smart phone app + driving = safety? 'Trying to figure out if that really is the case'

Connected Signals of Eugene is conducting a study to determine whether their app that tracks traffic signals can help prevent drivers from running red lights. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - Crashes at red lights are on the rise.

Federal traffic safety officials count about a quarter of a million red light crashes each year.

"You might not notice the light is red, and you run it and have an accident," Matt Ginsberg said. "The guy behind you might not notice the light is red."

Forty percent of those crashes result in injury or death, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

With on-board traffic signal information, about a quarter of those accidents could be avoided, the agency estimates.

That's Ginsberg's business. He is CEO of Connected Signals.

"What we've seen is that it appears to make driving less stressful, safer, so forth - and now we're actually trying to figure out if that really is the case," he said.

Ginsberg and his team want to know if the updated version of their smart phone app called EnLighten helps people drive safer.

"What we're interested in doing is actually bringing this to the field and do a scientific study," said David Etherington, the company's president.

The test is going on the next 6 months in San Jose, California.

KVAL News took the app to the streets of Eugene.

It's like GPS with an advanced brain, telling the driver how long a red light is going to last and more.

The new version posts a speedometer on your phone screen.

Ginsberg hopes the study data next year will prove their point: that vehicle traffic signal data saves lives.

"We're already working on getting that application up and running in Eugene so that people can take advantage of it immediately," he said.