Tuesday, October 07 2014 @ 10:11 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
By Jon Hilkevitch, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Most drivers tracked in a new Chicago-area survey failed to comply with a state law requiring them to stop for pedestrians, a finding that the research's backers attribute to inadequate police enforcement and education on traffic-safety laws.
But the results suggest that driver compliance with the must-stop law may be significantly improved if more visual warning cues are placed at crosswalks.
The survey, conducted by the automobile-alternative advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance, concluded that motorists in the area disregard a state crosswalk protection law more often than they comply with it in many circumstances.
In the observational survey conducted at 52 locations in Chicago and nearby suburbs, 61 percent of motorists did stop for pedestrians at painted crosswalks that also had other safety features, including in-road "stop for pedestrians'' signs, brick or stone crosswalks, raised crosswalks or flashing beacons, according to the alliance, which carried out 208 individual trials, four at each of the locations.
But compliance with a four-year-old statewide law requiring drivers to stop whenever a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk was only about 18 percent on average when the pedestrians attempted to cross a street in a traditional painted crosswalk, the survey found.
And the compliance rate plummeted to almost 5 percent at unmarked crosswalks. Under the law, a crosswalk is present whenever a sidewalk leads into the street, regardless of any markings present.