City planners and governments around the world have started to implement a new type of crosswalk over the past few years. It’s 3D-painted crosswalk intended to improve pedestrian safety.
To pedestrians, the painted lines on a 3D crosswalk simply look like paint. But to drivers, from a distance of 40 to 50 feet, they look like actual objects placed in the road. Many observers think they resemble boxes.
The optical illusion of making painted lines look like boxes is intended to make drivers slow down, almost like a speed bump does physically. It’s a commendable attempt to make pedestrians safer by capturing drivers’ attention and forcing them to reduce speed near a crosswalk. It also draws pedestrian attention to crosswalks.
The 3D-painted crosswalks are in use in China, India, Iceland, Canada, and the U.S. Both Kansas City, Kansas and Olathe, Kansas have recently rolled out 3D-painted crosswalks. The former is at the intersection of Augusta and Northridge Drive and the latter is on Cherry Street from Park to Loula streets.
Pedestrian Deaths, Injuries a Major Issue
Pedestrian deaths and injuries are a major safety issue. In 2017, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s one every 88 minutes. These deaths accounted for 16 percent of all traffic accident fatalities.
Although the number of pedestrian deaths fell slightly from the 6,080 recorded in 2016, these statistics show how significantly traffic accidents threaten pedestrian safety. About 19 percent of all traffic-crash deaths of children 14 years old and younger were pedestrian deaths. But pedestrian deaths are a significant danger to nearly every age group.
Twenty percent of pedestrian deaths occur in those 65 and older, and the highest number, 21 percent each, occurs in people between the ages of 50 and 54 and 55 and 59. The lowest number is in children under 5 and aged 5 to 9.
Nearly 129,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents severely enough to be treated in emergency departments nationwide during 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Safety Precautions to Reduce Pedestrians Accidents
Will 3D-painted crosswalks improve traffic safety for pedestrians? It’s likely that more data are needed. A 2012 study indicated that 3D-painted crosswalks had no measurable impact on getting cars to slow for pedestrians, although crosswalks, in general, were safer than areas without crosswalks.
Kansas City has plans to observe its 3D-painted sidewalks for more data.
Driving & Walking Safety Tips
It’s important to note, though, that the circumstances of all too many pedestrian accidents indicate that the best methods to improve safety may be the tried-and-true ones. Both drivers and pedestrians need to follow basic safety precautions.
- Be aware of the elevated risk of certain times of the day.
- Eliminate drinking while either driving or walking, making conditions much safer.
- Drivers should be aware of pedestrians at all times. Slow down around schools and neighborhoods.
- Roughly 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occur when it’s dark. Drivers should particularly exercise caution at night.
- Pedestrians should behave prudently when walking as well. It’s important to cross at a crosswalk if there is one. If there isn’t, cross at a lighted intersection. Walk on a sidewalk or path. Wear bright, light clothing and wear reflective strips at night. Consider carrying a flashlight at night.
Drinking and Pedestrian Accidents
The data are very clear on drinking and pedestrian accidents. The NHTSA reports that alcohol consumption, by either the driver or the pedestrian, was involved in 47 percent of fatal pedestrian traffic accidents in 2017.
Seventeen percent of drivers in pedestrian-vehicle accidents that resulted in a pedestrian death had been drinking excessively, as indicated by a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, which is the level signaling alcohol impairment in all U.S. states.
Drivers should never drink before they get behind the wheel. If they have been drinking, they should designate a friend or family member to drive who has not been.
But pedestrians need to realize that excessive alcohol consumption before walking is a danger to their safety too: 32 percent of pedestrians in fatal pedestrian-vehicle accidents had a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Walking is a means of transportation, after all, and drinking simply doesn’t mix with safe transportation.
Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been in a pedestrian accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Wagstaff & Cartmell will fight vigilantly for justice. You may be eligible for compensation to treat your injuries, recover lost wages and more.
For more information or to discuss the details of your claim, contact us today or call (816) 701-1100 to schedule a free consultation.