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New Technology in Pedestrian Accident Avoidance

Recent technological changes have enhanced the ability of a driver to see a pedestrian and avoid an auto accident. Busy intersections are a frequent cause of serious injury and death. Neither the driver, nor the pedestrian intend to strike or be struck. Yet time after time fatalities occur, particularly against the aged.

Public education and other preventative methods have done little to stem the unnecessary death of pedestrians crossing a crosswalk legally. However, there is a technological bright spot on the horizon.

Cities throughout the country are now testing roadway warning light systems. These systems have flashing lights that are actually embedded in the asphalt. When the pedestrian pushes the button, the lights flash at the oncoming vehicle, warning that the pedestrian has activated the crossing signal. Because the lights flash at the approaching driver, and it is not a common sight, the driver is made more aware, and begins to actively scan and look for the pedestrian.

Studies have actually shown that these enhanced methods of crosswalk protection are highly effective in reducing motorist pedestrian crosswalk accidents. I recently observe the effectiveness of this system in a local community crosswalk. When the light was activated, the vehicle slowed significantly before passing through the crosswalk even though the pedestrian had not stepped off the curb.

This OC pedestrian accident attorney would prefer that all cities with elderly populations such as Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel and other similar communities immediately initiate and install these systems in the most active pedestrian intersections. Naturally larger congested cities, should also further effort to install the systems.

An ounce of prevention can save hundreds of lives over the course of a year and the expense is minimal compared to the cost of caring for the elderly and others who have no insurance and are more seriously injured. A typical pedestrian accident hospital bill can exceed $300,000 to $500,000, 4 to 5 times the cost of installation of one of these units.

by James E. Ballidis

James Ballidis is the managing attorney for Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and has been practicing personal injury law for 25 years.

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