Study says drivers of expensive cars yield to pedestrians less often

| Mar 31, 2020 | Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents

A new report supports earlier studies that suggest drivers of more expensive cars take more risks with respect to pedestrian safety.

New data on crashes

The most recent annual data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on pedestrian deaths may come as a surprise. The report brought a lot of good news for drivers. But pedestrian fatalities jumped dramatically.

Strikingly, the numbers show demographic differences among those killed while walking or riding a bicycle. Twice as many male pedestrians died, whereas death rates for women bicyclists rose much faster than for men.

Race and ethnicity also affected fatality rates. White pedestrians died at a rate of 1.83 per 100,000 population as opposed to 2.53, 2.99 and 3.99 fatality per 100,000 Hispanics, African Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives, respectively.

Researchers have now followed up on the results of earlier studies conducted to understand the demographics of pedestrian safety.

Gathering hard data on who stops for whom

To gather the data, a black woman, a white woman, a black man and a white man tried to cross a Las Vegas street at a marked intersection. The four wore matching t-shirts and the researchers took videos of their attempts.

There were differences in the responses of drivers to the demographically different pedestrians attempting to cross at crosswalks. Drivers stopped more often for women volunteers and for white volunteers. They stopped less often for male volunteers and for black volunteers.

However, the most statistically reliable variable predicting whether a vehicle would yield to pedestrians was the Kelly Blue Book value of the car in question.

The greater the value of the car, the less likely it was to yield for pedestrians. Every increase of $1,000 in the car’s value translated to a 3 percent drop in the likelihood its driver would stop.