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Jaywalking Not As Big A Safety Issue As Assumed

Over the past 15 years, more than 76,000 pedestrians have been killed in the U.S. Some say preventing a significant portion of these deaths is as simple as enforcing jaywalking laws. Not so, argues Tom Vanderbilt, author of <em>Traffic</em>.
November 15, 2009, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"Certainly, there are egregious jaywalkers who defy logic and physics in their wayward perambulations. (Many of these are drunk people; as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes, "about 25 percent of fatally injured pedestrians have a BAC greater than .20"). And, conversely, there are also careful jaywalkers, like myself, who frankly find the notion of waiting for a signal when no cars are in sight to be faintly ridiculous and anti-urban.

But the facts simply do not support the idea that jaywalking is the greatest danger pedestrians face, and that drivers should be let off the hook."

Vanderbilt cites a report that finds only 20 percent of fatalities occurred where a pedestrian was crossing outside an easily available crosswalk.

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Published on Monday, November 2, 2009 in Slate
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