The Pedestrian in the Transportation System: Legislation for Improved Traffic Safety: A Report to the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia in Response to House Joint Resolution no. 419

Report No: 90-R10

Published in 1990

About the report:

During its 1989 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 419. The Resolution requested that Virginia's pedestrian safety laws be studied and that recommendations for revisions of those laws be made to improve pedestrian safety. Data concerning motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians, for the period from 1986 through 1988, were obtained and analyzed. During these 3 years, 389 pedestrians were killed, and 6,540 were injured. Pedestrians accounted for over 12 percent of the fatalities and nearly 3 percent of the injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. The analysis of the data identified specific pedestrian, location, driver, and vehicle crash characteristics. It was found that nearly 90 percent of the pedestrians killed and 78 percent of those injured were over 9 years old. They were either not using crosswalks when crossing the roadway, or were .walking along the roadway, or were standing or working in the roadway. Nearly 55 percent of the pedestrians killed and 83 percent of those injured were in business and residential areas. Hit-and-run, speed limit violations, inattention, and avoiding maneuvers were the primary driver actions cited. The vehicle was going straight ahead in over 70 percent of the cases when a pedestrian was killed or injured. The Code of Virginia was analyzed as it applied to the rights, duties, and responsibilities of both pedestrians and motorists and as it addressed the pedestrian crash problem. It was found that the Code does not address several problems and deals inadequately with others. The following changes were suggested: add six definitions, clarify pedestrian right of way in crosswalks, require drivers to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks, require pedestrian obedience to traffic control devices, prohibit passing a loading or unloading bus on the right, to prohibit certain pedestrian actions at railroad crossings, regulate pedestrian crossing behavior at locations other than crosswalks, regulate pedestrian use of the highways, detail pedestrian response to emergency vehicles, require both motorists and pedestrians to use due care.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Charles B. Stoke, Veronica M. Kelly

Last updated: December 27, 2023

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