The Blame Game… Who’s Accountable for Pedestrian Deaths?

Transportation advocates believe that pedestrian deaths can be prevented if there are crosswalks to connect bus stops to the apartment communities it serves.
According to Jennifer Emert of WTOC, Georgia’s jaywalking laws are tough and the penalties, if there is an accident, constitute jail time, as in the case of Raquel Nelson.
Nelson was convicted for second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct, and failure to use a crosswalk; she faced three years in jail.
Site of Raquel Nelson’s bus stop crossing. Photo courtesy of Transportation For America.
Instead of traveling to the nearest crosswalk, three-tenths of a mile away, Nelson and her three young children jaywalked on a busy roadway from the bus stop across from their apartment. Nelson’s four-year old son was struck and killed by an impaired hit-and-run driver, who served six-months of a five-year prison sentence.
Although a judge spared Nelson jail time last Tuesday, many believe that she should not have been brought to trial.
David Goldberg of Transportation for America questioned whether the highway designers, traffic engineers, transit planners, and land use regulators should be held accountable.
Some considered transit agencies liable for the dangerous conditions found when riders accessed the bus stop.
So who is accountable for this accident? Raquel Nelson, who jaywalked in order to avoid a three-tenths of a mile walk to the traffic signal? The impaired driver, who has a history of hit-and-runs? Or the transportation authority, who should have anticipated and planned with pedestrians in mind? Share your thoughts.
Read on:
Suburban Sprawl to Smart Growth – Shifting the American Dream
In Defense of Jaywalking
LA Times – in the news: jaywalking
Dangerous by Design 2011
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