Pedestrian accidents are a big problem across the country and climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year.
“There are a number of factors. There are distracted drivers, there are impaired drivers, and we also have the factor of pedestrians not walking in the designated crosswalk and wearing dark clothing at night. There are a number of factors that go into it,” said Corpus Christi Police Officer Gina Pena.
Drivers distracted by their devices are a well-documented cause of traffic crashes, but there are a growing number of pedestrians, too, who can become oblivious to traffic around them.
“Yeah, distracted driving is a big problem, not only with the drivers, but also pedestrians. People are walking and not paying attention and on their phones. What we recommend is that pedestrians walk away from traffic so they are seeing the oncoming traffic. Be mindful of your situations. We recommend pedestrians wear bright color clothing if you possibly can if you are going to be out at night time. Pay attention to the traffic, you may not be distracted, but the driver may be distracted,” said Pena.
It is more than just a safe suggestion; it is the law. Pedestrians must give cars a chance to see them, and stop, before they enter the roadway.
“If there is a crosswalk in the area, you definitely want to be mindful to use that. A lot of time, people will see, but they will cross a few meters before it because it is not convenient for them. Make sure you are taking those extra few steps even if it inconveniences you a little bit; it’s going to be your safest bet to cross in that crosswalk,” said Pena.
The Corpus Christi Police Department said they had 13 pedestrian fatalities last year. To them, that is one fatality too many.
The number of persons on foot killed on U.S. roadways last year increased an estimated 11 percent compared to 2015, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). This represents the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in terms of number of deaths and percent increase.
Highway safety offices from all 50 states and the District of Columbia reported 2,660 pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2016, compared to 2,486 deaths during the same time period in the previous year. Adjusting for underreporting and past full-year data trends, GHSA estimates an 11 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities from 2015 to 2016.
Roadway Safety tips:
• Always stay inside a disabled vehicle if it is safe to do so, so the vehicle can protect you. The vehicle is much more visible to oncoming traffic than a pedestrian standing in the roadway.
• Never walk distracted by texting, talking or using headphones.
• Make yourself visible to motorists by wearing light-colored clothing, and always make eye contact with drivers when possible.
• Always use designated crosswalks and obey crosswalk signals when available.
• Motorists should slow down and move over for any vehicles stopped on the shoulder, and assume someone may be walking near that vehicle.
• Use extra caution and expect the unexpected.
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