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Crosswalk Warning Lights | Radar & Flashing LED Signs | Vehicle Inspection Lights

Fact Sheet

In-roadway warning light systems are an effective method of improving crosswalk safety.

  • At crosswalks that feature in-roadway warning light systems, "the number of reported accidents is about 80% less than might be expected from uncontrolled marked crosswalks with 'average' crosswalk treatments." (Miller, Rock "In-Pavement Flashing Crosswalks: State of the Art")

  • Adding an in-roadway warning light system to a clearly striped crosswalk reduces the mean speed at which vehicles approach the crosswalk and reduces the mean number of vehicles that drive through the crosswalk while a pedestrian is crossing. (Lighting Research Center "Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety: Evaluating In-pavement Flashing Warning Lights")

  • In-roadway warning light systems improve drivers' awareness of crosswalks and pedestrians. After installation, drivers' yield behavior increases and speed near crosswalks decreases. (Miller, Sheryl, Gabriel Rousseau and Ann Do. "Seeing Crosswalks in a New Light." FHWA "Public Roads" Jan/Feb 2004)

  • In 2000, the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) approved the application of in-roadway warning lights at marked crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals. Guidance is available in the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) in Chapter 4N and the California MUTCD in Chapter 4N.

Pedestrian Accident Rates

  • 5,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2002.

  • In 2002, 71% of pedestrian accidents that occurred in the U.S. occurred in urban areas, 89% took place in normal weather, and 65% happened at night. (DOT HS Traffic Safety Facts 2002)

  • 71,000 pedestrians were injured in accidents in the U.S. in 2002; that's one pedestrian accident every 7 minutes. (DOT HS Traffic Safety Facts 2002)

  • Children and seniors accounted for 38% of the 76,000 total pedestrian accidents that occurred in the U.S. in 2002 (DOT HS Traffic Safety Facts 2002)

Factors That Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents

  • Higher vehicle speeds increase fatality rates. When hit by a car traveling 40 mph, a pedestrian has only a 15% chance of survival. At 20 mph, this survival rate increases to 85%. (UK Dept. of Transportation "Killing Speed and Saving Lives")

  • Potential for accidents increases when drivers can't see pedestrians because of

    - Traffic (moving or stopped vehicles can hide pedestrians)

    - Parked cars

    - Weather conditions

    - Foliage, curves in the road, etc.

    - Other visual obstructions.

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