October 17, 2021

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STUDY: The Vehicles Most and Least Likely to Stop For Pedestrians at a Crosswalk – Reviews.com

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Everyone probably has an idea in their head about what type of car will speed right by them while they wait at a crosswalk when trying to cross the street.

But does data match preconceived notions? The Reviews.com Car Insurance Research Team wanted to find out if the stereotype of the big truck blasting right by without stopping matched reality. We took a survey of 1,152 U.S. residents from across the country on what cars people feel are most and least likely to stop for pedestrians. We then used volunteers from around the U.S. to observe and collect data on what cars stopped or didn’t stop for people at marked crosswalks to see if these stereotypes are accurate:

Key findings:

  • The national survey found that 67.8% of respondents believe that sports and luxury cars (35.5%) and trucks (32.3%) were the least likely to stop for them at a crosswalk.
  • Regionality had very little to do with how people responded to the survey. Most people across the US had similar opinions about the types of cars that are least likely to stop for pedestrians.
  • The team of crosswalk observers found that reality matched this surveyed perception: Large trucks (#1) and luxury cars (#2) were the least likely to stop for pedestrians waiting at a marked crosswalk.
  • Sedans and non-car vehicles (motorcycles being the most common) were noticeably the most likely to stop at marked crosswalks.
  • SUVs and Minivans were in the middle, they stopped and gave the right of way to pedestrians standing at marked crosswalks at about an equal rate. 

Digging into the details

The Reviews.com research team conducted a survey of 1,152 U.S. residents. They asked respondents which vehicles they believed were the least likely to stop for them at a crosswalk. Below are the response rates:

What type of car do you think is least likely to stop for you at a crosswalk?

Type of vehicle % of responses
Sport/luxury cars 35.5%
Trucks 32.3%
SUVs 10.6%
Minivans 8.4%
Motorcycles 4.4%
Sedans/coupes 3.7%
Other 5.0%

To compare, the Reviews.com team used volunteers in a variety of regions in the United States and asked them to spend time at nearby crosswalks recording what cars stopped for pedestrians and what cars kept driving. This was largely done in major metro areas and only at marked crosswalks. There was a clear reported trend in two types of vehicles ignoring a pedestrian’s right of way — with trucks and luxury cars being the worst offenders.

While we did not ask our observers to record any specific variables, follow-up studies could introduce more data into the mix, like if people stopped more if the pedestrian had a stroller or was walking a dog. Or, observers could record how many people that ran through crosswalks appeared to be doing so intentionally versus just zoning out while driving. Perhaps there would be some variance based on the demographics of the driver as well, but these types of details were not accounted for in this initial recording.

One observer made a note of how common it was to see drivers who did not stop staring at their phones while driving, a terrifying anecdote.

It’s important to note that the above study might come across as a generalization, but it is interesting to see that perception matches reality based on the reporting of the crosswalk observers and the survey responses.

Methodology and notes:

  • Crosswalk observers spent approximately one hour at each marked crosswalk in major cities or their surrounding areas and recorded what types of vehicles stopped or didn’t stop when a pedestrian was attempting to cross. 
  • The approximate 20+ hours of crosswalk observation was conducted during daylight hours and only recorded after it was clear the pedestrian was making a thorough attempt to suggest their intention to cross the street.
  • The survey of 1,152 U.S. residents and observational recording was conducted December 2nd, 2020 – December 6th, 2020.
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