More and Better Crosswalks in the USA Would Save Many Lives

Just a few days ago, on June 11, 2018, NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas announced a $62 million investment in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, here in our own home state of New York .   This multi-agency initiative will include the Department of Health, DMV, Capital District Transportation Authority and local enforcement agencies.  This is, of course, to be warmly welcomed, but let’s get straight to the point, the USA has a stunningly bad track record for pedestrian injuries and deaths, with almost exactly six thousand being killed nationwide, and a vastly greater number being injured, during the last statistical year alone.

Photograph of a crosswalk location sign in the USA
Crosswalk location sign, USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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Uber Prototype Self-Driving Car Kills Pedestrian — Wild Claims about Who or What is at Fault!

A pedestrian being hit and killed by an autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, March 18, 2018, was certainly destined to create a big response from the media and many have published their views regarding the sad incident.

The problem is, though, that many people have speculated inappropriately on the matter, including — it has to be said — the police chief in Tempe.  So let’s make one important point straight away:  The only relevant decision regarding blame for this or any other tragic incident clearly lies solely with the courts.  Publishing unsubstantiated or wildly inaccurate opinions before any trial can only serve to affect the opinions of subsequent jurors and even officials — a highly undesirable situation.  (In other countries this is the law — often referred to as Sub Judice — but sadly for the most accurate justice that is not the case in the USA.)

Before considering some of the comments, let’s take a look at the in-car video, apparently published by Tempe Police and then ABC7, since the incident:

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Global NCAP tells Donald Trump to Make ‘America First’ in Pedestrian Protection

In response to President Donald Trump’s claim last week that a so called ‘bowling ball’ test is preventing US automobiles from entering the Japanese market, Global NCAP has written to the US President urging him to make ‘America First’ in pedestrian protection by adopting the same global standard applied by Japan…

Photo of a crash test dummy reading a mock book: Crash Testing for Dummies
Photo: Global NCAP

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USA: Crosswalks made with Low Quality Paint or in Pretty Colors are Potentially Deadly

Poor quality paint is dangerously and very frequently used for pavement markings and crosswalks in the USA, in place of more-expensive but vastly-safer thermoplastic materials which have a high-glass-bead content for excellent reflectivity at night and in bad weather.

A photo showing the loaction of two supposedly bright yellow crosswalks but they become invisible in rain at night because of the use of cheap paint.
Two bright yellow-painted crosswalks in Falmouth, MA, from crucial angles invisible during and just after heavy rain at night. The yellow is a futile waste of time if it becomes invisible at certain times! (Copyright image.)

Compare the photo above with the one below.  They are at the same location and were taken less than 12 hours apart.
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Far Too Many Pedestrians are Killed in the USA but it Could be Improved

It is a very saddening fact that pedestrian safety on roads and highways in the USA is well below the standard it should be, and far too many people are killed as a result.

The following was published by NHTSA on Facebook on 7 September, 2017:

  NHTSA  7 hrs
Pedestrian fatalities totaled 5,376 in 2015, up 10% from 2014. Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
Photo of pedstrians on a busy crosswalk
NHTSA image

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