Pedestrian accidents at crosswalks cause some of the most serious personal injuries, including spinal cord injury, and wrongful death. In 2006, pedestrian accidents accounted for 14% of roadway fatalities in Massachusetts. Public education campaigns and strict traffic laws have not prevented the death toll from climbing. However, new technology may be the solution for preventing many pedestrian accidents.
Communities across the country, including some in Massachusetts, have started installing “in roadway warning light systems” or IRWLs, at dangerous crosswalks. Flashing beacons are installed on the side of the road, in the crosswalk pavement, or in an overhead mast. When a pedestrian activates the system, either by automatic detection or manually, lights flash outwards toward the approaching vehicle. As an intentional design factor intended to prevent a feeling of false security, pedestrians cannot see the flashing lights. Studies have shown these IRWL enhanced crosswalk systems are effective in reducing pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrians can protect themselves further by being aware of whether they or motorists have the right-of-way. Massachusetts laws and regulations set forth the rights-of-way of pedestrians and motorists where traffic control signals are not present. Where a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk where no traffic control signals are in operation, Massachusetts law requires that motorists must yield to the pedestrian. Pedestrians crossing at a point in a road that does not have a crosswalk must yield to the right-of-way of motorists. Further, once they being to cross, pedestrians should continue to look in the direction of on-coming or turning traffic. Pedestrians should always face the on-coming traffic when walking or running in the road.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has additional information on pedestrian and bicycle safety.
If You Or A Loved One Has Been Hurt In A Pedestrian Accident
If you need assistance with a case involving personal injury or wrongful death as the result of a pedestrian accident, car accident, truck accident, or bicycle accident, please contact the Boston law firm Breakstone, White and Gluck. You can consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney by calling, toll free, 800 379 1244.