Identify Unsafe Behaviors

Unsafe motorist behaviors

Unsafe motorist behaviors may include the following:

  • Speeding through residential streets and school zones (speed is directly related to crash frequency and severity)
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians, especially in crosswalks (the law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks — it's a law that is often ignored)
  • Running red lights or STOP signs
  • Turning right or left at intersections without yielding to pedestrians
  • Exiting or entering driveways or alleys without yielding to pedestrians
  • Passing stopped cars (especially ones stopped at crosswalks) and school buses
  • Parking or stopping in crosswalks
  • Driving while distracted (e.g., by cell phones, radios, other people, eating food, etc.)
  • Driving while intoxicated

Some drivers don't think about the risks they create. A driver may not think going 10 mph over the speed limit will be noticeably less safe, but just a 10 mph difference in speed can be critical to whether motorist can stop to avoid a pedestrian, or whether a pedestrian lives or dies when struck by a car. This is especially true for children and older pedestrians. At 20 mph, a pedestrian has about a 5 percent chance of dying if he is hit by a car. At 30 mph, the chance of dying increases to roughly 45 percent. If a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle traveling 40 mph, the risk of dying increases to 85 percent.

Graph of Pedestrian Fatalities Based on Speed of Vehicle

Unsafe pedestrian behaviors

A critical component of enforcement activities is ensuring that pedestrians know and follow the safety rules. Some unsafe pedestrian behaviors include:

  • Crossing a street at an undesirable location.
  • Not looking left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  • Darting out between parked cars into the path of oncoming cars.
  • Wearing dark clothes when there is poor lighting.
  • Not following the directions of traffic signals or crossing guards.
  • Entering a stream of traffic and disrupting the flow.
  • Walking while intoxicated, wearing headphones, or while talking on a cell phone.