Study: Speeding Drivers More Likely to Ignore Pedestrians in Crosswalks

A new study finds that as travel speed increases, so too does the likelihood that drivers will fail to yield to pedestrians crossing legally with the right-of-way.

1 minute read

April 23, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Chris McCahill shares news of a new study published by the Transportation Research Board finding that "drivers traveling at higher speeds are also far less likely to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks." Specifically, the study found that "drivers are nearly four times more likely to yield for pedestrians at travel speeds around 20 miles per hour than at 40 mph."

The study's authors, Tomas Bertulis and Daniel M. Dulaski, observed 100 crossings at nine marked crosswalks, dividing each of them into three groups based on the typical speed of drivers on the road. According to McCahill's explanation of the study: "At 20 mph, roughly 75 percent of drivers slowed enough to let pedestrians cross. That rate dropped to around 40 percent at 30 mph and less than 20 percent as speeds approached 40 mph. The researchers also found that for eight of the sites (excluding the only four-lane street), travel speeds explained 99 percent of the variation in yield rates."

Both McCahill and the study's abstract point out that the study offers ammunition for planners, engineers, and local residents looking to bolster arguments in favor of more stringent speed controls.

Hat tip to Angie Schmitt for sharing the news about the study.

Monday, April 20, 2015 in State Smart Transportation Initiative

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