Going beyond who has the right of way
What pedestrians, drivers need to know to keep each other safe
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You don’t have to look far in Tucson to find someone jaywalking. It seems crossing the street outside of a crosswalk has become common practice in Tucson. But, as this year proves, that can be deadly. Eighteen pedestrians have been killed in the city alone in 2011. Many were outside of crosswalks, but others, like a 13-year-old Thursday afternoon
, were within those painted white lines. How can pedestrians and drivers be safe?
First: know the rules.
“Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crosswalks and at the intersection of two streets,” outgoing TDOT director Jim Glock told KGUN9 News.
“The driver has an obligation to yield the right of way to the pedestrian in the crosswalk, but sometimes it may be the person in the crosswalk's fault for causing the accident," added attorney Michael Piccarreta of Piccarreta Davis. "For example, not looking, stepping in front of the vehicle."
Glock said drivers have the right of way between crossing points.
Piccarreta added: “A driver should avoid colliding with a pedestrian even if they're not in the crosswalk. However, it depends really on the totality of circumstances. If the person darts out in front of a vehicle, then it's going to be the person's fault. If the person's crossing not in a crosswalk, it's likely the person's fault. But, on the other hand, if they're in the road and the driver has adequate time to avoid a collision safely, then it would be the driver's fault.”
But it's not enough to know the rules of the road. You should also be aware of other realities not written in city and state code.
“There are some national studies finding that marked crosswalks can give pedestrians a false sense of security,” Glock said. “Interesting enough, they have found at certain types of roadways, it's actually safer not to paint the crosswalk to avoid giving that pedestrian that false sense of security.”
Glock advises always paying attention and not doing "distracted walking," which includes texting while crossing a street. On top of that, “I would give pedestrians the advice that don't trust any driver to stop. Do cross when the roadway is clear.”