The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that more than a third of pedestrian-car accidents in 2018 occurred when vehicles turned left across an intersection.
How can governments make left turns less dangerous for pedestrians? The IIHS may have a solution for these types of car accidents involving pedestrians. A simple change to the infrastructure of intersections would force vehicles to make more of a 90-degree turn instead of swinging diagonally into the intersection. This is called centerline hardening and is already used in many American cities.
It works by using rubber curbs and/or posts (bollards) that make vehicles turning left pull farther into an intersection where they can then assume more of a right angle when completing the turn. Centerline hardening also forces vehicles to slow down when making left turns. Less diagonal movement combined with slower speeds could make the roads safer for pedestrians and motorists alike.
A senior researcher with the IIHS gathered data from 10 intersections in D.C. over several months to observe how centerline hardening might make a difference. She studied intersections with centerline hardening and without centerline hardening. Her research revealed that these infrastructure changes caused drivers to reduce their speed by approximately 36% when turning left.
Anything that can reduce the number of pedestrians wounded or killed in car accidents is worth pursuing. Until the state finds effective accident-reduction measures, pedestrians and motorists are still at risk. If you have suffered injuries from a collision with a vehicle, consider seeking a legal opinion about your options for compensation. Especially if a motorist’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries.