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New study finds connection between cost of car and failure to yield

Does the type of car play a role in the driver’s likelihood to stop for a pedestrian? According to a recent study, it may. Researchers with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Public health dug into pedestrian accident data with a focus on the type of vehicle involved in the accident. According to their findings, those who drove more expensive vehicles were less likely to stop for pedestrians within a crosswalk.

Researchers conducted the experiment by recording four individuals crossing at two midblock crosswalks in a metropolitan area within Las Vegas. The crosswalks were both marked with zebra-striped painting, typical on most roadways. The crosswalks did not have a signal to encourage cars to stop and were located on 4 lane streets with a speed limit of 35 mph. In an effort to maintain consistency and reduce the risk of additional variables, researchers gave the pedestrians specific instructions about how to approach the crosswalk and cross the street. For example, the pedestrians were instructed to approach the crosswalk and, once an oncoming vehicle passed a visual marker approximately 200 yards from the crosswalk, the researchers instructed the pedestrians to put one foot into the roadway to show a clear intent to cross. Next, the pedestrians were to make eye contact with the driver. All wore matching red t-shirts.

The researchers gathered data from 461 vehicles between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on a Saturday and Sunday in June. They found the odds of a driver yielding to the pedestrian decreased by 3% for every $1,000 increase in value of the vehicle. This finding is in line with previous studies that have found drivers with a “higher status” were less likely to yield to pedestrians.

This study is of particular interest in areas where pedestrians are common. Washingtonians are known for walking on a daily basis and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports up to 30% of the population does not drive at all. The researchers note that communities can decrease the risk of pedestrian accidents by educating the public of the need to stop for pedestrians, enforcing traffic violations when a driver fails to yield and engineering communities to better ensure safe pedestrian walkways.

Even with these efforts, accidents can happen. Those who are injured due to a motor vehicle accident can hold a negligent driver responsible for the expenses that result from the crash. An attorney experienced in pedestrian accidents can review your case and provide guidance.