Drivers are required by law to stop and yield to pedestrians at nearly every intersection in the state of Washington. However, that too often doesn’t happen. Many drivers believe that if an intersection isn’t a marked crosswalk, they don’t have to stop for pedestrians.
The city of Seattle is trying to educate drivers about their obligations at intersections – and in doing so, to save lives.
How the first intersections for driver report cards were chosen
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is beginning a campaign that will involve placing 13 “driver report cards” at selected intersections throughout the area. The first two signs with these report cards have been placed at intersections in Seattle’s High Point neighborhood. The signs will display an ongoing record of what percentage of drivers stop for pedestrians. The first report cards are being installed in areas where many of the residents are lower-income and/or people of color. There’s a reason for that.
While the problem of drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians is universal, SDOT has found that white pedestrians have to wait a shorter amount of time to cross than non-white pedestrians. The data collected under this program will help strengthen or debunk their previous observations.
Marked vs. unmarked crosswalks
A survey by SDOT has already found that what drivers say they do often won’t align with their real-world behavior. While 70% of drivers surveyed said they stop to let pedestrians pass at marked crosswalks. However, in observations, SDOT found that not even 20% of drivers stopped.
When it comes to unmarked crosswalks, the picture is much worse. Only 40% of drivers surveyed said they stopped at these intersections.
Anyone who’s tried to cross an intersection where there’s not a painted crosswalk, let alone lights or signage, knows how challenging and potentially risky it can be. If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver, it’s crucial to know what the driver’s obligation was under the law. This can affect the amount of compensation you can get as you seek payment for medical bills and other expenses and damages.