Are Drivers of Pricey Cars Yielding to Pedestrians?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Mar 03, 2020 in Personal Injury

Pedestrian couple at crosswalkIn 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported nearly 200,000 pedestrians were struck and injured by cars, leading to 5,977 pedestrian fatalities. Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths increased 35 percent between 2008 and 2017.

Since many pedestrian accidents usually happen in urban areas, ScienceDirect’s Journal of Transport & Health decided to conduct a limited study of two midblock crosswalks in a metropolitan area of Las Vegas. The focus of this research was to try to determine whether certain factors had an effect on drivers yielding to pedestrians, including the cost of the car, skin color and the driver’s gender.

Setting Up the Study

The study occurred over one weekend in June 2016 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.


Two mid-block crosswalks were chosen in areas with similar attributes:

  • Both crosswalks were in urban areas on longer and busier high-speed streets.
  • Each crosswalk contained four lanes of traffic with one center turn lane.
  • The speed limit was 35 mph in both locations.
  • Both midblock crosswalks were located within one mile of an elementary school.

Pedestrian participants

All study participants, two females and two males (one black and one white of each gender), were instructed on how to approach and cross the sidewalk in a similar fashion. For safety, they were also instructed to not to cross until they were positive the oncoming vehicle would yield the right-of-way.


Of the 461 drivers observed during the experiment, only 27.98 percent properly yielded to participating pedestrians:

  • Drivers yielded more frequently for the female participants (31.33 percent of vehicles)
  • Motorists also yielded more often for white participants (31.17 percent)

The only other significant factor with a seemingly predictable outcome was the overall value of the car. The likelihood of yielding went down three percent for every $1,000 increase in the price of the vehicle.

This study noted past research that suggests those in wealthier socioeconomic groups are often narcissistic and struggle to empathize with others.

However, another explanation for failing to yield may be that those in more expensive cars with advanced safety features have a false sense of security.

Overconfidence about advanced safety features is a mistake, says American Automobile Association safety expert Greg Brannon.

When to Contact an Attorney for Legal Help

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, you may have grounds to pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages.

At Rizk Law, we are prepared to help and offer potential claimants a free, no-obligation accident consultation to determine whether you may have a valid case and answer your legal questions. We take these cases on contingency, so there are no upfront costs to retain our services. We get paid nothing unless we are successful in winning a verdict or settlement for you.