Pedestrian safety is a priority throughout the United States. With the proliferation of young drivers, distracted drivers and drunk drivers, even crosswalks are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians. In recent years, however, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has adopted many methods to improve pedestrian safety. One of their priorities is clear, eye-catching signage such as the Yield-to-Pedestrian Channelizing Devices (YTPCD).
What is the YTPCD?
Channelizing devices are common objects used to temporarily control the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic. They can be traffic cones, barrels, stanchions or heavy barriers. The YTPCD is specifically designed for one purpose, though, and that is to call attention to foot traffic in a crosswalk.
If you are a driver in Pennsylvania, it is likely you’ve already seen these warning signs even if you didn’t realize they had an official name. They are three feet tall and one foot wide. They are a bright neon color and might have lights attached to draw in the eye. Sitting on a spring-loaded, ground-mounted base, the sign utilizes both text and imagery: State Law – Yield to (pedestrians) within crosswalk.
Extensively tested, researchers noted that intersections and crosswalks with the YTPCDs installed:
- The likelihood of the first motorist arriving at the crosswalk yielding to a waiting pedestrian increased 30-34 percent at intersections and 17-24 percent at mid-block crosswalks.
- The percentage of pedestrians who yielded to motorists decreased by 11-16 percent at intersections and 8-13 percent at mid-block crossings, suggesting increased pedestrian security when the devices were in place.
With the number of distracted drivers, drunk drivers or inattentive drivers on our roads, it might be impossible to fully protect pedestrians from vehicle collisions. While it is encouraging that Pennsylvania and other states are taking dramatic steps to address the problem and ensure the safety of foot traffic, pedestrians must remain aware of their surroundings and exercise caution whether or not they are waiting at a crosswalk or an intersection with safety signals.
Unfortunately, pedestrians lack any sort of protection in a collision. Even a small vehicle at low speeds can cause devastating injuries such as brain damage, spinal cord damage, paralysis or amputation. Serious collisions could be fatal for pedestrians. Do not hesitate to discuss your case or the loss of a loved one with an experienced personal injury attorney.