Car-filled roadways are becoming more dangerous for pedestrians. A study released on fatal motor vehicle crashes yielded some troubling results — motorists claimed the lives of 6,283 pedestrians on American streets in 2018, more than any year since 1990.

The Journal of Transport & Health provides even more enlightening data. Their study, published in February, examined how drivers interact with pedestrians in crosswalks. The data revealed that drivers of expensive cars are less likely to yield to pedestrians, and at exponential rates.

The dangerous state of U.S. roads

The Journal of Transport & Health examined two different intersections in Las Vegas, recording how drivers responded to different research volunteers as they traversed a crosswalk. The data collected infers the following:

  • General yielding: Drivers only stopped about 28% of the time for the pedestrian volunteers.
  • Racial bias: Drivers stopped 31% of the time for white volunteers, compared to 24% for black volunteers.
  • Gender bias: Cars yielded for female volunteers about 7% more than male volunteers.
  • Luxury tax: Drivers of more expensive cars were less likely to yield to pedestrians. Based on Kelly Blue Book values, for every $1,000 increase in the car’s value, the chance a driver would stop fell by 3%.

Consistent with other studies

Similar studies in Portland and California support these findings. A curious Finnish study, also released last month, offers a European perspective. It found that both “disagreeable men” and “conscientious people” were just as likely to drive high-status cars. The data collected suggest that wealth does not necessarily corrupt one ethically, but rather that people who practice unethical driving behaviors are more likely to purchase a luxury vehicle.

Stay safe on the street

The roads are more dangerous today than they have been in decades, so it is imperative pedestrians take whatever precautions they can. Motorists need to understand that a vehicle must always yield to a pedestrian, regardless of context. Anyone struck by a moving vehicle should seek medical attention, then contact a local personal injury lawyer immediately. They will help navigate a stressful legal situation and secure due restitution as soon as possible.