According to a recent report out of Raleigh, NC, pedestrians can expect some changes the next time they try to cross the street. One stretch of Hillsborough Street, a busy road through the Research Triangle, along with a few other heavily trafficked roads, now have newly installed buttons that clearly say “Wait” before it’s time to cross rather than the typical chirping crosswalk signs.
Safety experts say the changes are being made to help reduce instances of distracted walking. Experts are hoping that the crystal clear message on the crosswalk signs helps pedestrians pay closer attention before they cross the street. The different speed beeping noises previously used at the intersection did little to prevent occasional jaywalking. The hope is the new crosswalk system will help pedestrians stop putting themselves in danger by ignoring crosswalks or walking while being absorbed by other technology.
The changes have been implemented in the Research Triangle given its reputation as a notoriously dangerous place for pedestrians. According to a recent report, 400 pedestrians are hit and injured by drivers in the Triangle each year. Wake County manages to rank second in the state for the number of collisions each year involving pedestrians. First place, sadly, belongs to Mecklenburg County.
The new crosswalks are part of a campaign launched late last year called “Watch For Me NC” which is so far focused on communities in the Triangle area. The program works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help reduce the number of pedestrian injuries.
Whether the new buttons on crosswalks will reduce the hundreds of pedestrian injuries each year remains to be seen. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2010, there were 4,280 pedestrian fatalities. The protections of a crosswalk aren’t what many imagine given that numbers from a pedestrian advocacy organization, SafeTrec, show that each year 22.7 percent of U.S. pedestrians involved in collisions were actually in a crosswalk at the time of the collision. Nearly all the crosswalk collisions resulted in pedestrian injury or fatality, with nearly one-third resulting in severe or fatal injury. Drivers, not pedestrians, are blamed for the vast majority of such accidents, with data reporting that 80 percent of the crosswalk collisions were the fault of the driver.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced injury lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
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