By DALE STEWART | ITEM Ltd.
- SAFETY: This reason might seem a bit obvious, but don’t discount the profound and dramatic effect a pedestrian-activated, LEDenhanced in-road warning light crosswalk has on the visibility of a crosswalk — both day and night — to drivers approaching the crossing. Drivers often have more on their minds than the task of driving, and an LED warning system can easily mean the difference between life and death. Even an extra split second of braking will have a tremendous effect on the final stopping point of a 3,000-pound vehicle.
- DISTRACTED DRIVERS: Never before in the history of the automobile has distracted driving been such a dangerous and universally practiced habit. It affects nearly all socioeconomic and age ranges, and is considered by some to be the No. 1 cause of accidents on roadways today. Some estimates put the number of drivers who are driving distracted at any given time in the range of 7 to 10 percent. If there are 10,000 cars a day approaching a crosswalk, some quick math disturbingly shows that 700 to 1,000 times a day a driver is approaching that crosswalk while driving distracted.
- TUNNEL VISION: A well-documented and disconcerting side effect of driving while distracted is a dramatically reduced field of view, which is called tunnel vision. In some cases, signs and warning beacons installed on the roadside or on overhead mast arms have become virtually invisible to a driver experiencing this effect. To date, LED in-road warning systems are the only warning systems that remain in the field of view of a distracted driver experiencing tunnel vision.
- LIABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: Let’s face it: It’s a litigious world. A pedestrian struck in a crosswalk will quickly be on the target client list of the nation’s finest and brightest legal minds. An opportunity to reinforce one’s bank account in the name of pain and suffering will rarely be passed up. When it comes to pedestrian / vehicle incidents, some estimates put the legal costs for a single case upwards of $300,000. To be able to demonstrate that you’ve responsibly and proactively taken every step possible to ensure maximum crosswalk visibility is worth its weight in liability mitigation gold. A quality irwl system can be installed, in many cases, for one-tenth the cost of the potential legal liabilities of a single case.
- RELIABILITY: Reliability is probably not one of the usual reasons: however, when it comes to streetscape beautification projects, few things will mar the street view more rapidly than a gangly, industrial set of posts, beacons and overhead mast arms. To be fair, decorative mast arms and beacons can be obtained; but they are expensive and still leave the dangerous issue of tunnel vision unattended. Today’s irwl systems are low-profile and for all intents and purposes blend into the roadway until it’s time for them to do their job. Today’s quality systems are shipping with five-year warranties, require little to no maintenance, and in many cases are still performing reliably eight to 10 years into their service life.