In 2017, 5,984 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). That marks the second year in a row that the death toll was near 6,000. Compared to less than 5,000 deaths in 2014, these recent statistics could point to an alarming trend in pedestrian safety.
There are a variety of factors that have contributed to the rise in pedestrian deaths from motor vehicle accidents, even while fatalities for other types of traffic accidents are declining. Possible reasons for increased pedestrian deaths include: more cars on the road, distracted driving, pedestrians distracted by smartphones, drugged driving, and drunk driving.
What can be done to improve pedestrian safety?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 74% of car accidents involving pedestrians happen after dark. In addition, 72% of fatalities occurred when pedestrians were crossing the street away from a traffic intersection.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a comprehensive report on pedestrian safety. One of the main conclusions of the research is that infrastructure changes on the local level should be prioritized to make communities safer for pedestrians.
Among other recommendations, one important change that can be made by local communities is the installation of solar-powered flashing crosswalk systems at non-intersection crossings. Also known as Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB), these systems are installed at uncontrolled crosswalks to serve as a warning beacon for both pedestrians and motorists.
These ultra-bright signals are visible during the day, as well as at night, and help to call attention to crosswalks, thus alerting drivers to slow down and yield the right-of-way. These beacons have been approved for optional use by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Studies show drivers yield to pedestrians at a much higher rate (about 90% of the time) when an RRFB is present, compared to yield rates of just about 20% at standard crossings.
Installing RRFB signals at non-intersection crossings is a great way to increase the visibility of crossings and reduce the potential for motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians.
Why is a solar-powered RRFB from ELTEC the best choice for your neighborhood?
ELTEC is a world-class manufacturer and innovator of traffic control signs, traffic safety equipment, and overall traffic control products. ELTEC’s solar-powered crosswalk systems offer a variety of benefits.
- ELTEC offers RRFB systems in both solar and AC-powered options.
- Solar-powered systems have a backup battery, which means they continue to function even during a power outage.
- Systems can be retrofitted to existing poles.
- Solar systems are more environmentally-friendly than traditionally-powered systems.
- Solar systems can be installed in locations far away from existing AC power sources.
- The units communicate wirelessly, so there’s no need to trench or bore during installation.
- Systems are pedestrian-activated and have both push-button and passive detection options.
- Systems are sized on a per-project basis, to ensure sufficient power is available year around. System sizes are based on a variety of factors, including: the average number of crossing per day, the hours of operation, the local site conditions, and weather patterns.
- The system complies with the FHWA’s recommendations for optional use at uncontrolled pedestrian and school crossings.
ELTEC is proud to be a leader in the traffic industry by providing traffic safety equipment and traffic control products. Whether you are looking to enhance safety with solar powered pedestrian lights or need a comprehensive solution to your traffic concerns, ELTEC has the traffic control products you need. Call us now at 800-227-1734 to discuss your traffic product and warning system needs or request a free quote online today!