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I’ve detailed the rash of auto-pedestrian accidents which have been occurring in Las Vegas and throughout the valley over the past couple months. Many officials are worried that this trend might continue into the holiday season, which is supposed to be a time of peace and good cheer instead of sadness and anguish. In fact, two different columns in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal have focused on this problem – so it might benefit everyone to summarize their contents here.

First, Adrienne Packer clarifies some of the state laws regarding pedestrians and drivers. Here is a synopsis of the scenarios which she mentions in her column.

As a driver, you are required to yield to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk…

  • Until he or she reaches the other side of the street or a curbed center median (even if you have the right of way while turning right)
  • If other vehicles beside you yield to the pedestrian
  • Even after the pedestrian has passed by the front of your car

Columnist Steve Sebelius looks at this issue from another point of view. His main position is that for pedestrians, laws are less important than common sense. In other words, even though you as a pedestrian may have the right of way, you shouldn’t assume that a marked crosswalk provides physical protection against being struck by a vehicle. The tried-and-true approach of looking both ways before stepping into the roadway is a pedestrian’s best defense against becoming an accident victim.

Here’s my viewpoint: even though drivers who strike pedestrians open themselves up to exposure from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, it’s still better for a pedestrian to make every attempt to prevent this situation from happening. Because no amount of money can truly replace the pain and anxiety caused by an auto-pedestrian accident – especially if it’s a fatal one.