Street lighting plays an important role in both security and accident safety. Nationwide accident statistics show that 50% of all fatal accidents occur during the hours of total darkness. Yet, only 25% of travel occurs during the same period. One potential countermeasure to this problem is improving the street lighting on our nations freeways and state highways. One study found that along freeways that had interchange lighting only, there was a 19% higher injury crash incidence than the same highway experienced during daylight hours. In the wake of a fatal pedestrian accident involving Syracuse basketball coach Boeheim, the mayor of Syracuse is calling for a review of lighting where the fatal accident occurred according to Syracuse.com.
Late last Wednesday as Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim was driving home along a stretch of Interstate 690, he struck and killed pedestrian Jorge Jimenez, 51.
Law enforcement officials have repeatedly made mention of the lack of lighting along that part of the roadway was the primary cause of the accident.
Jimenez, who had gotten out of a disabled vehicle, was attempting to get to the side of the roadway and out of the way of traffic. Boeheim had to swerve to avoid hitting the disabled vehicle and accidentally struck Jimenez.
The stretch of I-690 where the accident occurred has no street lamp lighting. Lighting stops completely at the Thompson Road exits, just ahead of where the accident occurred.
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said that he would issue a formal request to the Department of Transportation to review the lighting on that section of roadway. Walsh also indicated that he would defer to DOT experts decision on the necessity of installing additional lighting.
There are currently no federal laws that govern lighting on interstates within the United States according to the Federal Highway Administration.