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Reducing Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries – June 24, 2013

This past weekend, two individuals were tragically killed in the St. Louis area when they were struck by vehicles as they attempted to cross the street as pedestrians.  One individual apparently stepped into the path of a vehicle in the 3100 block of Olive Saturday night and another man was killed Sunday morning as he was on his way to church at the intersection of Riverview Boulevard and Eton Lane.

While we often write in this blog about motor vehicle accidents, we rarely discuss pedestrian safety even though it is a significant safety issue.   In 2010 there were 4,280 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes with an additional 70,000 injured.  On average, there is one pedestrian death every two hours in the United States and an injury every eight minutes.  Additionally, pedestrians are one and a half times more likely that vehicle occupants to be killed in a vehicle accident each trip.

Most at risk for these types of fatal accidents are older adults, children and drivers and pedestrians that are alcohol-impaired.  Pedestrians over age 65 account for nineteen percent of all pedestrian deaths and eleven percent of the injured.  For children between the ages of five and nine who were killed in traffic accidents, nearly twenty percent were pedestrians.     Alcohol-impairment by either the driver or pedestrian is involved in almost half of the crashes that result in pedestrian death.

Additional elements of these tragic occurrences are vehicles that are traveling at high speeds, and pedestrians in urban locations, crossing at non-intersections and at night when visibility is more limited.

Pedestrians can increase their safety by:

  1. Carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective clothing when walking at night.
  2. Using the designated crosswalks whenever possible and
  3. If it is necessary to walk in the street, to walk in the direction facing oncoming traffic.

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