A new study out of Oregon and Portland State Universities has concluded that left turns are among the riskiest pedestrian areas. Researchers have found that permitted (also known as unprotected) left turns are especially risky. These types of left turns are created to ensure a steady flow of traffic, but if the study’s authors are correct, that speedy traffic comes at a price: more car collisions in Hollywood and other cities.
The study, published by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, determined that unprotected left turns lead to traffic accidents for a few reasons:
1) Poor motorist habits. According to the researchers, motorists who are turning left at permitted turns are 4-9% less likely to check for pedestrians when completing their turn when compared with motorists making other types of turns.
2) Confusing signals. Each city in the US – and even different cities within the same state – have different signals for unprotected left turns. According to personal injury attorneys in Hollywood and other communities, this lack of consistency can lead to confusion and can increase the risk of pedestrian accidents in Hollywood and other communities. Some experts have recommended one universal permitted left hand traffic sign be adopted to reduce confusion and reduce the risk of collisions.
3) Poor pedestrian habits. In many car and truck accidents in Hollywood and other communities, when pedestrians are involved they may bear some of the liability for the collision. Researchers with the Federal Highway Administration found that pedestrians are more likely to be injured when crossing in marked crosswalks rather than unmarked areas. According to some experts, this may be because pedestrians feel much safer in marked crosswalks and may take fewer precautions.
4) Unprotected left turns encourage cars to turn quickly. According to the study published by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, drivers making a permitted left turn often need to move quickly in order to complete their turns, and this speed can mean that they do not take the time to check for pedestrians.
According to a 2010 NHTSA report, 13% of all traffic deaths in 2010 were pedestrian fatalities. That means that year about 4280 pedestrians died in traffic collisions. Experts agree that in many cases these deaths are preventable and could be avoided with better motorist habits.
Some experts believe that permitted left turns should be converted into protected left turns in order to reduce instances of traffic accidents. Others argue that better signals or traffic signs would help prevent pedestrian fatalities. Most experts do agree that some changes need to be made to prevent senseless fatalities and injuries.