Pedestrian Accident Case Study
A northbound public transit bus stops along the right curb of a multi-lane city street, approximately 45 feet south of (prior to reaching) the crosswalk of an intersection. A passenger exits the bus and moves across the front of the bus on an angle, heading toward the crosswalk. As she moves across the front of the bus, she looks left for oncoming traffic. However, her view is partially blocked by the bus she just exited. As she reaches the crosswalk she also begins to enter the right travel lane but, at this point, is looking to her right and not to her left at oncoming traffic. After taking two steps into the travel lane, she is struck by a northbound vehicle approaching a green traffic signal. The bus and the pedestrian’s movement and a portion of the impacting vehicle’s movement, were captured on video cameras mounted on the bus. Seems pretty straight forward, right?
The pedestrian crosses against the signal and fails to look just prior to entering the right lane. However, an engineering frame-by-frame analysis of the video established that the striking vehicle was traveling over the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit. The video also established where that vehicle was located when the driver perceived and reacted to the pedestrian prior to braking to a stop (following the collision).
The video analysis established that, despite the actions of the pedestrian, had the vehicle operator been traveling at the speed limit when the operator perceived the pedestrian, the collision would not have occurred. Based on the data, who was at fault?
The case was tried in front of a Judge only. Judge determined that both parties were equally at fault.