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Does your crosswalk signal dance?

November 12, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

When novelty wears off, will dancing crosswalk sign still prevent pedestrians from walking out in front of cars?

Traffic stops are notoriously dangerous for many reasons. But one of the big ones is that pedestrians forget to pay attention. They step out in front of oncoming traffic because they’re distracted – and then they get hit by a car.

Unfortunately, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the U.S. in 2011 (the latest statistics available), totaling 4,432 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But what if crosswalk lights could be safer? Check out this rather unique signal that’s getting people buzzing – and just maybe paying more attention. The dancing isn’t too bad, either.

You can see in the video that the dancing red stop signal is actually the figure of a real person dancing in real time. The video concluded that 81% more people stopped for the red light.

In Michigan, where I primarily practice personal injury law, there were 2,392 pedestrians involved in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents in 2013.  That left 149 pedestrians killed and 1,941 injured in 2013, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts from the Office of Highway Safety Planning.

This dancing crosswalk is a novel idea. The goal is admirable. But preventing pedestrians from being hit by cars and trucks, such as the tragic wrongful death case I tried last year in Shekoski v. Allied, may require more than a novelty.  Novelties wear off, and people may soon treat dancing crosswalks the same as they treat normal crosswalk signals today. We’d be better served to remember something we all learned in kindergarten: Stop. Look. Listen.

Related information:

A deadly distraction: Pedestrians wearing headphones

Who pays No Fault benefits for pedestrians in Michigan?

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