Flashing crosswalk lights are no match for flashy cars, according to a new University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) study which found that drivers of expensive cars are least likely to stop for crossing pedestrians.
Only 28 percent of flashy cars yielded for pedestrians
Drivers on a whole aren’t all that great at stopping for pedestrians waiting at crosswalks: Of 461 cars that researchers examined, only 28 percent yielded. But the cost of the car was a significant predictor of driver yielding, with the odds that they’ll stop decreasing by 3 percent per $1,000 increase in the car’s value. Researchers estimated the cost of each car using pricing categories from Kelley Blue Book.
“It says that pedestrians are facing some challenges when it comes to safety, and it’s really concerning,” said lead author and UNLV public health professor Courtney Coughenour.
‘Drivers need to be made aware that they legally have to yield’
“Drivers need to be made aware that they legally have to yield. It’s hard to say whether they’re not yielding because they don’t know the laws or because they don’t want to yield,” Coughenour said. “Further study is needed to examine that. Until then, the bigger thing is driver education.”
The study, which analyzed video data from an earlier UNLV study, also found that motorists overall yielded less frequently for men and people of color waiting at mid-block crosswalks than for women and whites. It is also consistent with findings from similar studies on the topics of driver yielding behaviors associated with social class, race, and gender.
Findings are important to public health
The research team said their findings are important to public health, given that pedestrian injury and survivability are low even when struck at low speeds. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10 percent at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25 percent at 23 mph, 50 percent at 31 mph, 75 percent at 39 mph, and 90 percent at 46 mph.
- Courtney Coughenour, James Abelar, Jennifer Pharr, Lung-Chang Chien, Ashok Singh. Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians. Journal of Transport & Health, 2020; 16: 100831 DOI: 10.1016/j.jth.2020.100831
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, which has been in print since 2005, and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Love is Medicine Project docuseries, The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit, The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10-week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. You can follow Razi on social media: Facebook at Razi Berry, Instagram at Razi.Berry and join the Love is Medicine group to explore the convergence of love and health. Look for more, and listen to more Love is Medicine podcast episodes here.