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Could New Crossing Signals Help Deter San Diego Pedestrian Crashes?

With vehicles turning and pedestrians crossing, intersections are one of the most frequent locations for traffic collisions. In fact, approximately about 40 percent of the accidents that occur in the United States are intersection-related crashes.

The most common cause of car accidents at intersections is driver error, particularly inadequate surveillance (failing to check carefully before crossing the intersection, making a turn, etc.). To help deter pedestrian accidents, the State of California is currently testing out a new type of crossing signal.

The new signals are intended to help address a specific type of crash — turning vehicles that strike a pedestrian with a valid cross signal. The accidents occur when drivers take a right turn immediately after the light turns green and fail to notice that pedestrians also have a walk signal.

As Citylab.com explains, the proposed solution is a “yellow pedestrian border.” The new signal, which was designed by Caltrans traffic engineer Rob Stinger, frames the standard white walk signal in a border of yellow LED lights. The goal is to alert drivers that there might be someone in the crosswalk.

Pilot testing of the new crossing signal is currently underway at several locations in Northern California. So far, the results are encouraging. The yellow pedestrian border helped to decrease pedestrian/vehicle collisions by approximately 17 percent, although the results varied by location.

Here is what the Caltrans report to federal traffic safety officials stated:

From the many hours of observations made during this study, there does not appear to be a downside to the modification. The YPB is not a distraction to motorists, nor does it adversely affect driver behavior. The device provides supplemental information to motorists while giving pedestrians reassurance that the signal will provide a WALK indication soon. Lastly, the border is most visible, providing the greatest benefit, to pedestrians and motorists during low light or inclement weather conditions when the potential for conflict is greatest.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we know how devastating a pedestrian crash can be. We are encouraged that the State of California is looking at ways to help deter these accidents.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.