Do you know the crosswalk laws? Why you should!

Donna Smith and her Seeing Eye dog Farlow. Have dog, will travel.Six years ago a motorist ran over my foot when I attempted to cross a driveway in a supermarket parking lot. My foot was fractured in multiple places, took months to heal and still causes me pain. It took me months to be able to cross driveways and roadways without significant stress, and to this day, I can’t filter out the distraction of what could happen if a motorist fails to yield or stop when I’m crossing the street.

In the grand scheme of things, mine was a fairly minor accident. Too many other pedestrians are not so lucky: pedestrian deaths constitute 14% of all traffic-related fatalities in the U.S.

The number of pedestrian fatalities is rising, too. It increased by 6.4% since 2011 (4,743 pedestrian deaths in 2012). Pedestrian injuries increased 10% over statistics reported in 2011 as well. With these staggering numbers in mind, I’d say that we could all benefit from learning a little more about crosswalk laws.

Walking and using public transportation lessens automobile congestion, and it can improve health and environmental conditions, too. The focus on the benefits of walking means states are getting tougher enforcing crosswalk laws.

Crosswalk laws differ widely from state to state, and the nuances that make them different can be confusing. Fortunately, an article by the National Conference of State Legislatures lists information about crosswalk laws state-by-state here.

Our roadways are shared by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. While state laws have the final word on which party is to blame when accidents occur in crosswalks, we as users of roadways have the responsibility to exercise precaution and consider the safety of those around us. Taking time to consider the best way to approach a shared crosswalk takes only a very few minutes of our time. Failing to take the time to make the best decision possible could result in devastating consequences that could impact the rest of our lives. Please travel safely!


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