Motor Vehicle Collisions with Pedestrians in Areas Without Traffic Control Devices – Who Is Liable?
The most dangerous areas for pedestrians are roadways and intersections that do not have a traffic control device. Traffic control devices include signs, markers, and any signal device that is used to control and guide all types of traffic. Traffic control devices guide drivers along with pedestrians and bicyclists. Stop signs, traffic lights, and light up walk/don’t walk signs are some of the most common examples of traffic control devices.
In areas where there is no traffic control device, it can be unclear who has the right of way, whether it is the pedestrian or the driver. It is not always the case that the pedestrian has the right of way. Like drivers, pedestrians also have a duty of due care. This means that they are obligated to take reasonable safety precautions to protect themselves. While it is always important for pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings and be on the look-out for vehicles that could put them at risk of harm, it is particularly important when there is no traffic control device in-place where the pedestrian is walking.
In collisions between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle that occur in areas that lack traffic control devices, liability can depend on which state you are in. Liability refers to who is at fault for the accident. The laws governing the duties of pedestrians and drivers of motor vehicles vary from state to state. Most states in the U.S. only have the requirement that drivers must yield to pedestrians. In these states, the law does not require that the driver actually stops for pedestrians. About half of these states with only the yield obligation require the driver to yield to any pedestrian in any portion of the roadway. The other half only require that the driver yield in the same half of the roadway and when the pedestrian is approaching from the other side of the roadway.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in the roadway or an intersection without a traffic control device, speak to us today. We know the state laws that would apply in your case no matter where the accident occurred. We may be able to help you prove that the driver was liable so you can get compensation for your injuries as a result of the accident.
State Laws Vary in These Types of Accidents
A few states have different laws enacted which require drivers to stop when encountering a pedestrian in an uncontrolled crosswalk. In Minnesota, state laws require drivers to stop when there is a pedestrian in any portion of the roadway. In Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, drivers are obligated to stop when there is a pedestrian upon the roadway and within one lane the vehicle is traveling. Hawaii, Illinois, and Washington have laws requiring drivers to stop when the pedestrian is on the same half of the roadway and when approaching the other side in such a way to constitute a danger.
According to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1997 and 2004, there were 19,178 fatal car accidents at intersections where the traffic control device was coded as “none.” Since police offers may indicate “none” on the report in cases where the traffic control device had nothing to do with the accident, this statistic does not necessarily mean that each of these fatal accidents occurred in locations without traffic control devices, but it provides a general glimpse at the prevalence of these types of accidents.