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Hybrid beacons may save pedestrian lives

California residents may know about the vulnerability of pedestrians when crossing a street. However, pedestrian hybrid beacons may help to lower the number of annual fatalities. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the installation of hybrid beacons has been shown to reduce pedestrian crashes by almost 69 percent and roadway crashes by almost 29 percent.

Hybrid beacons are controlled by the pedestrian. A set of red lights is positioned to stop the traffic when a pedestrian pushes the walk button. This is useful in areas where pedestrians crossing the streets are common and there is no signal to stop the traffic. When the pedestrian has crossed over a travel lane, the signal allows traffic in that lane to continue, which helps avoid traffic backup.

The FHWA recommends that this type of signal only be used where marked crosswalks are located, especially where pedestrians have to wait a long time before crossing or motor vehicles are moving at faster speeds. It also recommends the use of pedestrian beacons in areas where schools are located or in transit locations. Statistics show a correlation between pedestrian deaths when struck by a motor vehicle when traveling at different speeds. When struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph, fewer than 10 percent of pedestrians die as a result of being hit, while over 80 percent die when struck by a vehicle driving at or over 40 mph.

A pedestrian who has been injured by the carelessness of a driver may be subject to high medical bills, lost time from work and extensive rehabilitation. It may benefit that victim to consult with an attorney in order to determine how to seek compensation for the injuries that have been suffered.

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