In early September of 2017, an Austin woman was killed in a tragic pedestrian accident in the south part of the city. According to reporting from NBC KXAN, the collision occurred just before 7 am in front of the IDEA Bluff Springs School. The responding police officers indicated that the collision occurred at a crosswalk that did not have a traffic signal.
Unfortunately, dangerous circumstances like this one are all too common in Texas. Our state is one of the worst for pedestrian safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 480 pedestrian fatalities in the Texas in the year 2013 alone. To put this number into perspective, this means that deadly pedestrian accidents occur in Texas at a rate that is twenty percent higher than the national average.
At Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, our law firm is committed to promoting greater pedestrian safety in Central Texas. We want all pedestrians (and drivers) to fully understand their rights and obligations under the law. Here, our Austin pedestrian accident attorneys take a look at crosswalks, and explain who has the right of way in different situations.
Texas Law: Understanding Pedestrian Right of Way at Crosswalks
Under Section 552.003 of the Texas Transportation Code, Texas is a ‘same half, must yield’ jurisdiction. It is important for state residents to understand precisely what this means in different circumstances:
Crosswalk Right of Way When Control Signal is Present
While crosswalks with control signals are meant to be intuitive, it is worth highlighting what exactly the different signals mean under Texas law. If there is a control signal present, the sign should display one of the following:
- Walk: When the crossing signal says walk, it means that pedestrians have the right of way.
- Wait: If the signal has shifted to ‘wait’, then pedestrians should not begin crossing until the next round; though, those already in the roadway have a right to finish crossing.
- Don’t Walk: Finally, if the signal displays ‘don’t walk’, then the pedestrian does not have the right of way.
Crosswalk Right of Way When No Control Signal Present
Of course, many of the crosswalks throughout the city of Austin lack crossing signals. At these locations, Texas operates under the ‘same half, must yield’ legal standard. Under this standard, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians whenever they are on the same half of the roadway as the car, or are going close enough to the roadway so as to be in some type of potential danger. As this standard can be difficult to apply in certain real-world situations, Texas drivers should always give the benefit of the doubt to pedestrians.
Were You Injured in an Accident at a Texas Crosswalk?
We can help. At Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, our top-rated Texas car accident attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of pedestrian accidents claims. If you were injured in a collision at a crosswalk, please do not hesitate to contact us today (512) 969-6357 to schedule your free case evaluation. From our office in the heart of Austin, we represent injured victims throughout Central Texas, including in Travis County, Williamson County, Burnet County, Blanco County and Hays County.