Have you ever been in a scenario, where you were walking down the crosswalk and see the crosswalk signal turn green at the same time as a light signal? This seems really strange because both the driver and you are following traffic rules. However, this simple mistake in the traffic system could lead to the death of a lot of people. As a permanent and responsible resident of Pleasanton, I am writing this article to raise awareness for change in the way the traffic signals and light signals correspond with each other.
According to the NRD.NHTSA, there has been 32,719 pedestrian and vehicle collisions in the U.S that have leads to fatalities, in 2013. According to the Governmental Highway Safety Association, California has had the most number of pedestrian fatalities in the entire U.S in 2014 with 701 deaths caused by pedestrian and vehicle collisions, which is about 24% of total number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S.
The reason this issue deserves the attention of Pleasanton residents and the California Department of Transportation is that, according to Governmental Highway Safety Association, 23% of pedestrian and vehicle collisions in 2014 occurred in California and according to U.S. Census Bureau, over 12.2% of the residents of America live in California. The number of Californian residents killed in California is very high, the highest in the U.S. Many of these innocent people’s lives can be saved by just making a change to the traffic system, that has been adopted by the State of California. California is the state of prosperity and it is also a “trend-changer,” as in the state that sets the trend for other states of the same country, to enforce this new change. Therefore, if this change is made to the Californian traffic system, then there not only will be a decrease in the number of pedestrians killed in California. As the role model of all the states, California will set an example and all the other states in the U.S. will also follow this change, therefore saving thousands of pedestrians throughout the country. If fewer pedestrians throughout the country are killed, then there will be a more satisfied population living in the U.S. Some examples of the problem happening in our own city, Pleasanton, are shown in the two pictures given below:
The first picture was taken at a four-way junction, the intersection of Valley Avenue and Greenwood Road, which is beside Harvest Park Middle School, Pleasanton. It is a clear example that resembles the illustrated scenario given above. The signal, that turned green is the traffic light that is permitting a car on Greenwood Road to turn left onto Valley Avenue. At the same time, the pedestrian signal is also directing the pedestrian to walk forward. This creates a huge possibility that the pedestrian might collide with the car which may lead to fatality or injury of the pedestrian, despite the fact that the pedestrian or the driver of the vehicle did not do something that violates the traffic rules or laws. In addition, this junction is very close to a school, one in which a large portion of the student body walks to school. This fixable problem endangers students and children, who were following what they were told to do. Your children can die due to some tiny problem of the traffic system, where the fault is of the Traffic system but is blamed upon them.
The second picture was taken at the four-way intersection of Black Avenue and Santa Rita Road, which is very close to Amador Valley High School. Since I attend this school, I know one of the most popular ways to come to this school is by walking. This, as well, is a real-life example of the illustration given above. The signal that turned green is the traffic light that is permitting a car on Santa Rita Road to turn right onto Black Avenue. At the same time, the pedestrian signal is also directing the pedestrian to walk forward. This creates a huge possibility that the pedestrian might collide with the car which may lead to fatality or injury of the pedestrian, highly likely for a distracted high school student. This small problem can lead to a much larger consequence for both the victim and the driver. Furthermore, if a driver injures or kills a pedestrian, he or she can be prosecuted and arrested for something that was primarily the fault of the traffic system.
The solution that I am suggesting is that if we can sync up or connect the pedestrian signals with the light signals, then they can operate in a way that will solve this troubling issue. If the pedestrian signal indicates the pedestrian to start walking, then the traffic signal, that corresponds to the vehicle that intersects the certain zebra crossing, must stay red and vice versa. This is the best solution to this problem because it removes a large percent of the possibility of a pedestrian-vehicle collision, which obviously will lead to a fewer number of deaths in California. The solution explained above is also illustrated in the diagrams given below:
This is one of the two cases that are part of my solution to prevent the issue being discussed in this letter. In the illustration, as the pedestrian signal turns green, the traffic signal corresponding to the car, that wants to turn left, turns red, therefore making the car unable to turn left. This removes the possibility of the car colliding with the pedestrian, therefore solving the problem.
The solutions provided above should be implemented and added to the Traffic System that exists today in Pleasanton because it saves lives and, even though this change may cost a small amount of money, life is the most valuable thing in the world.
This accident also occurred in Pleasanton and lead to the tragic death of David Reardon. He was walking at night and was crossing the street when a car intercepted and killed him. Now the charge will go to the driver. However, both the driver and David were following their traffic rules. Therefore, the driver was charged for obediently abiding by the city traffic laws. The driver was not only charged with the death of a man but also suffered some mental trauma too.
If you encounter such a thing while walking, please take a picture and send it to my email address at the bottom of the page.
Thanks for reading!
PTown Web Team