LAS VEGAS — If you believe that people who drive luxury cars are more likely to feel entitled, one new set of research shows you might be right — at least when it comes to the right of way. A study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) found that drivers of expensive cars are the least likely to stop for pedestrians trying to cross the street.
In general, most drivers aren’t good at stopping for pedestrians waiting at crosswalks. The researchers examined 461 drivers and only 28% yielded for peds. They also found that the cost of the car had a relationship with drivers yielding. The odds that a driver will stop for a pedestrian decreased by three percent per $1,000 increase in the car’s value. Researchers estimated the cost of each car in their study by consulting the pricing categories from Kelley Blue Book.
“It says that pedestrians are facing some challenges when it comes to safety, and it’s really concerning,” said UNLV professor of public health and lead author Courtney Coughenour in a media release. “Drivers need to be made aware that they legally have to yield. It’s hard to say whether they’re not yielding because they don’t know the laws or because they don’t want to yield. Further study is needed to examine that. Until then, the bigger thing is driver education.”
The researchers analyzed video data from an earlier UNLV study that showed drivers are less likely to stop for black pedestrians than white pedestrians. They added that drivers also tended to stop less for men than women waiting at mid-block crosswalks. Their findings were consistent with other similar studies on the topics of driving behaviors and yielding for crosswalks based on social class, gender, and race.
Coughenour and her team said their study’s findings are important for public health because the mortality rate for pedestrians is high even when hit by vehicles traveling at low speeds.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian hit by a vehicle is 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph. That risk jumps to 25% at 23 mph, 50% at 31 mph, 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph.
The study was published in the Journal of Transport and Health.