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Drivers with expensive cars less likely to yield to pedestrians

The Journal of Transport & Health published a study in March 2020 analyzing the various factors that may or may not encourage drivers from yielding to pedestrians. New York residents should know that one factor was the vehicle as drivers of more expensive vehicles were less likely to yield to pedestrians. Researchers believe that those with expensive cars may feel superior to others while those of a lower socioeconomic status may more readily empathize with pedestrians.

Regardless of vehicle type, though, drivers, in general, were found to be less likely to yield for men than for women and for racial minorities than for whites. Previous field experiments in Portland, Oregon, and in Las Vegas have shown that drivers would yield less to blacks than to whites.

The study was conducted with the help of four volunteers: two men and two women with one white and the other black. The volunteers would indicate to the drivers that they would be crossing a crosswalk while cameras captured the reactions of the drivers. Of the 461 cars that became part of the experiments, only 28% yielded. Drivers yielded 31% of the time to the white and female volunteers but only 24-25% of the time for the others. For every $1,000 increase in the vehicle price, the chances of a driver yielding fell by 3%.

Bias is, of course, not the only reason why drivers would fail to yield to pedestrians. At the root is simple negligence. Pedestrians who are injured at the hands of a negligent driver can seek compensation, though, from that driver’s insurance provider, assuming that they themselves did not contribute to their injuries. How strong a case is can be hard to determine without legal assistance, so victims may hire a lawyer. The lawyer may negotiate on victims’ behalf.

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