Drivers of More Expensive Cars Less Likely To Yield For Pedestrians Interview with:

Courtney Coughenour, PhD Assistant Professor UNLV School of Public Health University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Coughenour

Courtney Coughenour, PhD
Assistant Professor
UNLV School of Public Health
University of Nevada, Las Vegas What is the background for this study?

Response: We were motivated to conduct this study because we came across other research discussing unethical behavior by income. We were already conducting the study, so we decided to video record the crossings so that we could determine a cost estimate and examine whether or not that was a factor in driver yielding. What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding is that a large proportion of cars did not yield, while more expensive cars were less likely to yield – about 3% less likely for every $1000 increase in car cost. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: I think a take away message is that only about 28% of cars actually yielded. That is very concerning for pedestrian safety. If you are a pedestrian, please be sure to follow the standard safety protocols for crossing the roadway, and be sure that the driver sees you and is going to stop before you enter the roadway. If you are a driver, you are legally obligated to yield the right of way to the pedestrian (at least according to Nevada law). Pedestrian fatality rates have increased across the country, measures need to be taken to reduce those rates. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: It would be great to understand more about why so few drivers yielded. Was it because they are unaware of the NV law? Was it because they did not see the pedestrian or were ill prepared to stop? Or was it because they just chose not to? If we know why drivers are not yielding, that would be helpful in designing the most effective intervention aimed at increasing pedestrian safety.   


Courtney Coughenour, James Abelar, Jennifer Pharr, Lung-Chang Chien, Ashok Singh. Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians. Journal of Transport & Health, 2020; 16: 100831 DOI: 10.1016/j.jth.2020.100831



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Last Updated on February 28, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD