STUDY: The Vehicles Most and Least Likely to Stop For Pedestrians at a Crosswalk Staff Staff

Everyone probably has an idea in their head about what type of car will speed right by them while they wait at a crosswalk when trying to cross the street.

But does data match preconceived notions? The Car Insurance Research Team wanted to find out if the stereotype of the big truck blasting right by without stopping matched reality. We took a survey of 1,152 U.S. residents from across the country on what cars people feel are most and least likely to stop for pedestrians. We then used volunteers from around the U.S. to observe and collect data on what cars stopped or didn’t stop for people at marked crosswalks to see if these stereotypes are accurate.

Key findings:

  • The national survey found that 67.8% of respondents believe that sports and luxury cars (35.5%) and trucks (32.3%) were the least likely to stop for them at a crosswalk.
  • Regionality had very little to do with how people responded to the survey. Most people across the US had similar opinions about the types of cars that are least likely to stop for pedestrians.
  • The team of crosswalk observers found that reality matched this surveyed perception: Trucks (#1) and luxury brand cars (#2) were the least likely to stop for pedestrians waiting at a marked crosswalk, with about one in four blowing right by without stopping.
  • Sedans and non-car vehicles (motorcycles being the most common) were noticeably the most likely to stop at marked crosswalks, with less than one in ten not stopping.

Digging into the details

The research team conducted a survey of 1,152 U.S. residents. They asked respondents which vehicles they believed were the least likely to stop for them at a crosswalk. Below are the response rates:

What type of car do you think is least likely to stop for you at a crosswalk?

Type of vehicle% of responses
Sport/luxury cars35.5%

To compare, the team used volunteers in a variety of regions in the United States and asked them to spend time at nearby crosswalks recording what cars stopped for pedestrians and what cars kept driving. These observers spent a total of about 20 hours in total watching pedestrian activity at crosswalks. And while this part of the study is certainly more directional than scientific, it is still interesting to see data align with stereotypes.

This was largely done in major metro areas and only at marked crosswalks. There was a clear reported trend in two types of vehicles ignoring a pedestrian’s right of way — with trucks and luxury cars being the worst offenders.

Full observations below:

Type of vehicleRatio of not stopping
Trucks1 in 4
Luxury brand vehicles1 in 5
SUVs1 in 8
Minivans1 in 10
Sedans/coupes1 in 13
Other1 in 9

While we did not ask our observers to record any specific variables, follow-up studies could introduce more data into the mix, like if people stopped more often if the pedestrian had a stroller or was walking a dog. Or, observers could record how many people that ran through crosswalks appeared to be doing so intentionally versus just zoning out while driving, something that would likely be difficult to differentiate but interesting to attempt nonetheless.

One observer made a note of how common it was to see drivers who did not stop staring at their phones while driving, a terrifying anecdote, and something that would make for interesting data in a follow-up study.

Methodology and notes:

  • Crosswalk observers spent time at marked crosswalks in major cities or their surrounding areas and recorded what types of vehicles stopped or didn’t stop when a pedestrian was attempting to cross. 
  • The approximate 20+ hours of crosswalk observation was conducted during daylight hours and observers only recorded data after it was clear a pedestrian was making an intentional attempt to cross the street.
  • The survey of 1,152 U.S. residents and observational recording was conducted December 2nd, 2020 – December 20th, 2020.

About the Authors

The staff is dedicated to providing you with all the deep-dive details. Our writers, researchers, and editors came together from Charlotte, Seattle, San Juan, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, and Chicago to put this review together.