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March 12, 2003

Dangers to Elderly Pedestrians at Crosswalks

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1244-1245. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1244-a

To the Editor: Dr Koepsell and colleagues1 found that older pedestrians had a higher risk of being struck by a motor vehicle at sites with a marked crosswalk than at unmarked intersections, but this risk was nearly eliminated by the presence of stop signs and traffic lights.

A related strategy, which is being introduced in New Jersey and elsewhere, is to place signs in the center of streets in crosswalks, warning drivers to watch for pedestrians; for example, "Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalks—It's the Law!" These signs certainly get my attention and remind me to slow down when I am driving. Now that Koepsell et al have shown that crosswalks may be more dangerous than we thought, it is important to find out if these warning signs are useful or just another attractive nuisance.

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