Pedestrian fatalities spiking nationally and locally

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Researchers here say Miami Valley numbers mirror a national spike in pedestrian-involved vehicle crashes.

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at national crash data from 2009 to 2016 and found pedestrian deaths jumped 46 percent since the statistic reached a low in 2009.

Most of the crashes happened in urban or suburban areas, away from intersections and often at night.

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission found a similar trend in the Montgomery, Miami, Greene and northern Warren Counties region between 2014-2016. MVRPC saw pedestrians and fatalities increasing 10 percent each year, with 18 percent of all fatal crashes involving pedestrians or bicycles.

Brian O. Martin, the executive director of MVRPC said inattention and more people on the roads could be part of the contributing factors in the increase.

“We’re easily distracted now,” Martin said. “I think there’s just more traffic, more vehicles on the roadway, but also more pedestrians.”

The Dayton Police Department also found a growing number of fatal pedestrian crashes in recent years. Two pedestrians were killed in both 2013 and 2014. In 2015, fatalities doubled to four. Six pedestrians died in vehicle crashes in 2017.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety used the new data as a call to action. It’s pushing for safer vehicle technology and improved lighting and crosswalks.

The MVRPC gave the following tips:

Motorists:

  • Be alert for pedestrians, especially in low-light situations
  • Always yield to pedestrians – it is better to focus on safety than on who is “right”
  • Obey all traffic and speed laws, especially red light and stop sign laws
  • Be particularly careful around buses – look out for passengers getting on and off
  • Keep your eyes on the road and don’t drive distracted

Pedestrians:

  • If there is a sidewalk, use it. If you must walk in the street, walk on the left FACING TRAFFIC.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night, or at dawn or dusk.
  • If you regularly walk or jog at night, consider wearing lights. Or just carry a flashlight.
  • If there is a crosswalk, use it. 
  • Even if it is your turn to cross at a light, make eye contact with any approaching vehicles.
  • Watch out for turning vehicles at intersections, even if you have the pedestrian crossing signal. 
  • Look out for drivers who seem distracted or who are driving strangely. Move farther away from the road if you are concerned.
  • Don’t walk distracted; look up from your cellphone when crossing a street, or better still, put it away entirely when walking along a busy road.
  • Remember, driving under the influence can be fatal. So can walking under the influence.

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