Crosswalk Accidents Related to Safe Driving…or Type of Vehicle?

Pedestrians in a Massachusetts crosswalk should proceed with caution and, perhaps, check out the type of upcoming vehicle before stepping onto the street.  Why?  In University of California, Berkley, study it was shown that there is a correlation between bad road manners and wealth when it comes to pedestrian crosswalks.   First, the law.

Crosswalk Law in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the law is that absent a traffic control signal (stop light), a driver shall (must) yield to a pedestrian in that driver’s side of a crosswalk or if the pedestrian is within 10 feet of the side of the road that the driver is on.  See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 89, Section 11. What is amazing to many folks in Massachusetts is that the majority of motor vehicle drivers fail to observe, or perhaps even know of, this law.

Vehicle Safety Study by National Academy of Science

The study, undertaken by the Institute of Personality and Social Research as a result of work by Paul K. Piff shows a clear correlation between drivers of less valuable cars being more likely to stop for pedestrians than drivers of more expensive vehicles.

While 80% of the drivers observed pedestrian cross walks, the other 20% did not.  Male drivers were less likely to stop.  All drivers were more likely to stop for a female pedestrian.  “BMW drivers were the worse,” according to Mr. Piff.  Also, Toyota Priuses, status vehicles in San Francisco where the study was performed, were driven more like premium class cars and had a high association with crosswalk infractions.

Vehicles and Associated Risk

In a 2002 University of Michigan study,  imported luxury cars have the lowest combined risk.   (Pickup trucks have the highest combined risk because of their use in rural areas where there are fewer traffic controls, faster speeds allowed, and poorly constructed roads, according to the study.)  While this may seem to counteract the crosswalk study, the Michigan study did not take crosswalk accidents into account in any separate category.

The Michigan study, it may be significant to note, clearly shows that smaller vehicles are more dangerous to the drivers of those vehicles.  In addition, it shows that the aforementioned pickup trucks are most dangerous to others, perhaps because of their size.  Large cars, however, were among the safest to both drivers of those vehicles and persons in other vehicles.

Experienced Massachusetts Crosswalk Attorney

If you or a friend or family member is involved in a crosswalk accident in Massachusetts, seek an experienced crosswalk injury attorney.  While the law requires the police and district attorney to investigate, often the driver, who is rarely injured in vehicle on pedestrian accidents, will give misleading information to the police.

It is critical that you give the police your side of the story.  It is critical that you find witnesses.  It is critical that you obtain photographs of the way the crosswalk looked at the time of the accident.

Attorney Neil Burns has been representing victims of crosswalk accidents since 1985.  Call 617-227-7423 for a free consultation.

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