Los Angeles Head Start Crosswalks are Designed to Save Lives But Do They?

Los Angeles is making an investment to install 15 pedestrian signals downtown that are supposed to help reduce pedestrian accidents. They are called either head start signals or leading pedestrian intervals, and are supposed to be helpful specifically in protect pedestrians from drivers who are making right hand turns. These new signals allow pedestrians four seconds of crossing before the cars get their own green light.

The idea behind the technology

Many large cities seen a lot of pedestrians being hurt or killed but they often don’t have ideas on how to prevent them in the future. L.A. is the first to make a serious commitment to prevent this specific problem. The idea of the head start signals is that there will be less confusion between drivers and pedestrians regarding who has the right of way. The person on foot will have a chance to make the first move as their signal will be clear and unambiguous that they have the right of way.

Without this extra time, supports of the head start crosswalks say that the green / white lights turn at the same time and the person in the vehicle and the person walking may both believe they have the right away, though the pedestrian legally does. This change will hopefully make that clear to everyone involved.

The trial has been in progress since 2014

The city traffic authorities have been using this technology in two places since 2014. The locations are both in downtown Los Angeles, one at Broadway and 3rd Street and another at Broadway and 4th Street. Officials claim that the city has had fewer accidents at these locations and no pedestrian deaths. They feel it’s a success and are therefore extending the program.

Will the signals be widely implemented? It all comes down to money

While the city of Los Angeles currently has plans for more than a dozen intersections to get the new signals, the question many have on their minds is when the rest of the city can get these potentially life-saving options. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas, we imagine that the price is at least partially a factor. According to officials the total cost of each safety signal is about $10,000. At that price, it seems that it will likely remain an incremental program that’s slowly phased in.

There will always be pedestrian accidents in the city of Los Angeles

Would installing these lights allow us to say goodbye to pedestrian accidents once and for all? Of course not. The reality is that we live in a world with many pedestrians and many cars – there are bound to be accidents. That said, this doesn’t mean that drivers are free to do whatever they’d like. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of car accident, whether with a bike, pedestrian, motorcycle, or truck, then you may have grounds for a personal injury case. Contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 today for a free legal consultation.