Pedestrian Countdown Leads to More Accidents

Pedestrian safety and the risk of motor vehicle collisions at crosswalks have always been ongoing issues in big cities and urbanized areas like Toronto and the GTA. In a free society, you can’t force people to do things the “right” way – even if it’s clearly against the law, like jay walking – but intelligent design elements can encourage people to behave more safely. That’s the theory, at any rate.

The Pedestrian Countdown Signal

Like many other municipalities throughout North America, the city of Toronto spent millions of dollars outfitting nearly 2,000 crosswalks with a countdown signal mechanism that was supposed to reduce injuries. Instead of the simple flashing hand that signals caution as the lights shift to red, it begins a countdown at a scheduled point – typically 20 seconds. It was designed to give pedestrians a better idea of when exactly the light would change to red and thereby reduce those last minute dashes that result in injury.

However, as more and more cities follow suit, a study out of the Hospital for Sick Children suggests that they actually have had the opposite of the intended effect.

Researchers found that installation of the countdown signals has actually corresponded with a 26% increase in collisions and an even bigger increase in serious injuries. A study in the journal Injury Prevention theorizes that the numerical display may actually be encouraging people to cross later and later, in contrast to the more immediate reaction to the simple flashing hand that denotes caution.

One of the suggested modifications includes ending the countdown earlier. The City’s traffic experts are reviewing the data before any adjustments are made.

Traffic Accidents Get Complicated

Many factors may come into play when it comes to car and motor vehicle accidents, including:

  • The specifics and physical layout of the area where the accident occurred (road conditions, inherent visibility and more)
  • Signage – adequate, visible or not?
  • Even, as the study indicates, the manner in which the intersection signal lights are working – or not working

Any of these factors may affect liability. Where are your rights as an accident victim in all the confusion?

  • You need expert help – call on the experienced car and motor vehicle accident lawyers at Petrillo Law.

We Focus On Car & Motor Vehicle Accidents

Petrillo Law has been providing competent, caring legal advice to car accident victims in Mississauga, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across Ontario for over 20 years. We can evaluate a case to determine whether it meets the provincial threshold required to start a lawsuit as well as represent injured people who have been denied accident benefits by their own insurance company.

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