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Pedestrian crashes in Washington, DC and Baltimore

Preusser, David F.; Wells, JoAnn K.; Williams, Allan F.; Weinstein, Helen B.
Accident Analysis and Prevention.
September 2002

Police crash reports were obtained for pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes in Washington, DC (N = 852) and Baltimore (N = 1234) for the year 1998. Reports were coded using procedures developed and applied in these two cities during the 1970s, including the determination of pedestrian crash type, primary precipitating factor, and culpability. Results indicated substantial differences between crash patterns observed during the 1970s and those observed during 1998. Midblock dart-dash crashes, which typically involve a precipitating factor or critical error by a child pedestrian, decreased (from 37% to 15% in Washington). Across all crashes in both cities, the number of drivers who made a critical error leading to the crash was nearly equivalent to the number of pedestrians who made a critical error. Overall, pedestrians were slightly more likely to be judged culpable (50% vs. 39%). Turning vehicle crashes, which typically involve a driver's failure to grant a pedestrian the right of way at a signalized intersection, increased (from 9% to 25% in Washington). Countermeasures to reduce the number of pedestrians hit by turning vehicles are discussed.