The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently issued a press release about their upcoming efforts to improve pedestrian safety in areas across the state. Caltrans will be using new hybrid safety beacons to enhance safety in busy intersections. The High Intensity Activated Crosswalk Systems (HAWK) look kind of like regular traffic signal lights, but they’re a lot different. They’re pedestrian activated light signals, and they alert motorists to pedestrians getting ready to cross the road.

Pedestrian Crashes in The U.S.

  • In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrians killed in crashes in the U.S.
  • This is the highest number of pedestrians killed in one year since 1990.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, there was a nine percent increase in pedestrian fatalities.
  • One pedestrian was killed nearly every 1.5 hours on averages in 2016.

HAWK Beacons Alert Motorists to Pedestrian Crossing

The HAWK beacon is situated above a busy crosswalk area, just like a traffic light. Unlike a traffic light, which has three lights in a row that are red, yellow and green, the HAWK beacon has two red lights positioned above one yellow light. The HAWK beacons are pedestrian activated. This means that they can help to enhance pedestrian safety in the crosswalk area, when pedestrians are present. When there are no pedestrians present, traffic can flow freely.

Flash Yellow, Solid Yellow and Solid Red

When a pedestrian approaches the crosswalk, he or she can push the button to cross the street. At this time, the bottom light will flash yellow to get the attention of the motorists approaching the crosswalk. The HAWK system’s yellow light will stop blinking and stay solid yellow before switching to the top two red bulbs that will stay solid red. Pedestrians can safely cross the road when traffic has stopped and a walking sign is illuminated. After the pedestrian has had time to safely cross, the beacons flash red before turning off.

Pedestrian Accidents in California

Caltrans officials encourage all motorists to use caution when approaching areas with pedestrian beacons. Whether they are flashing or not, there could be pedestrians in the area. If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident in San Diego or anywhere along the Central Coast, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.

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