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In a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be killed or injured. And, it’s important to remember that children are often the smallest pedestrians, making them harder to see. Additionally, younger children may dart into intersections without understanding the dangers. For this reason, the Newton Police Department is are reminding drivers to watch out for pedestrians. While there are many actions that pedestrians can take to stay safe, there are more actions that only the driver can take — such as obeying the posted speed limit.
Following the speed limit isn’t just the law — it is a critical component to keeping pedestrians safe.
Driving at the posted speed limit provides the driver time to “see, identify, and react” in time to brake for pedestrians. When a driver sees something ahead, he or she can slow down and identify the object. Because the driver can see and identify, he or she is able to react by applying the brakes. When a driver speeds, it increases reaction time, greatly increasing the likelihood the driver could hit the pedestrian.
According to the U. S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 nearly three quarters (74%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections. If you are speeding, pedestrians can seem to “come out of nowhere.”
This is especially true in neighborhoods and around schools. Even if you are going 35 mph in a 20 mph zone, it increases your vehicle’s stopping distance by more than 100 feet. In those few seconds, your vehicle will travel the length of a basketball court, and it could be too late to avoid hitting the pedestrian in front of you.
Visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety to learn more tips and to get information about pedestrian safety.