Attempts to Curb Pedestrian Accidents in Pennsylvania
Ross Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh housing the bustling Ross Park Mall and an adjacent business district, began April with its third fatal accident involving a pedestrian in six months. These accidents have not only taken lives and caused enormous grief, but also have encouraged the township and PennDOT to examine ways they can reduce the toll accidents have on pedestrians.
While the local and state agencies take steps toward reducing pedestrian accidents as far as they are able, they also seek to remind individuals of the role they play in preventing fatal accidents.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the township had added signage to one crosswalk where an 86-year-old woman was killed on her way to church in September. Other pedestrian crossing signs have started to appear across the township in places where there are crosswalks present but no stop signs or traffic lights. The township also reports ordering three dynamic signs, which alert drivers to their speed in areas with a high rate of speeding incidents. The goal of all of these changes is to make crosswalks and pedestrians more visible to drivers, especially since two of the accidents since September involved limited visibility.
Additional changes to crosswalks are in store for both the township and PennDOT. The township has issued plans to redesign the appearance of crosswalks under their jurisdiction, and PennDOT is repainting crosswalks a fluorescent green instead of the current white in an attempt to make them more visible. PennDOT is also planning approach signs that will warn drivers of upcoming crosswalks. New traffic lights, which have systems designed to help regulate the flow and safety of pedestrian traffic, are being installed in place of existing lights.
A Human Element
Todd Kravits, a PennDOT traffic engineer, explained that the issue was not one that could be resolved through government action alone. He informed the Tribune-Review that “safety is our number one concern, so we're always looking for things to make roads safer for drivers and pedestrians...But it's just as important for people to drive and walk defensively.” Similarly, Ross board of commissioners president Steve Korbel stated, “there are some things the township and PennDOT can try to do, but drivers and pedestrians have to be part of making it safer.”
These concerns are true across the commonwealth and everywhere drivers and pedestrians intersect. Drivers must not be distracted while operating their vehicles, and pedestrians have to be mindful of what is happening on the road. Signs will only work for drivers who are paying attention enough to see the signs.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact us today to ensure reckless drivers are held accountable for any damage they cause.