U.S. Transportation Secretary Concerned About Pedestrian Safety

The Department of Transportation is implementing new tools to keep pedestrians safe. In a recent press conference, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, spoke about the rise in pedestrian deaths and injuries over the past two years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness about pedestrian safety. In addition to the campaign, grants are being offered to cities with high pedestrian fatality rates to improve safety at dangerous intersections.

The Facts

According to the NHTSA, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in crashes with automobiles in 2011. Additionally, 69,000 pedestrians were injured. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes. Pedestrian deaths represented 14 percent of total traffic fatalities in 2011. These numbers represent a 3-percent increase from the year before. In 2010, 4,302 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes.

What Can Drivers Do?

Drivers need to be on the lookout for pedestrians. Drivers should be particularly careful in poor weather conditions or when visibility is low. Additionally, drivers need to slow down when approaching crosswalk areas. Drivers should also be particularly watchful when backing up, especially in parking lots where children are nearby.

Alert and Predictable Pedestrians

Pedestrians can’t count on the vigilance of drivers on the road. The NHTSA recommends that pedestrians try to be as predictable as possible. Pedestrians should utilize designated crosswalks and obey all intersection signs and signals. Additionally, pedestrians should remain incredibly alert. This means no texting while walking.

Additional Safety Tips for Pedestrians

• Make eye contact with drivers.
• Look left-right-left before crossing.
• Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night.
• Walk facing traffic.
• When no sidewalk is available, walk as far away from the road as possible.

It’s up to the entire community to keep pedestrians safe. Drivers need to be especially careful in parking lots and at intersections. Just being aware of pedestrians isn’t enough. Drivers need to be cautious and courteous when sharing the road with others. Pedestrians don’t have seat belts and airbags to protect them. Pedestrians who are hit by cars are often facing extensive injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured, contact the experienced attorneys at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free consultation.

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