Local Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise

Written By Melissa Jabour

According to a recent LNP article, in the last several years, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States has grown substantially faster than other traffic-related deaths. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent, while all other traffic-related fatalities decreased by 14 percent. Lancaster County has also experienced an increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities in recent years. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in this country in 2017. It has been more than 25 years since the United States experienced this level of pedestrian fatalities.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Responsibility for pedestrian safety is shared amongst all on the roadways, pedestrians and motorists alike. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has assembled the following list of tips for pedestrian safety:

  • Cross only at crosswalks, and not between parked cars.
  • Wait for a gap in traffic, then step one foot off the curb or fully enter the crosswalk, and make eye contact with approaching drivers.
  • Look left, right, then left again. Keep looking.
  • Always obey traffic signs and signals.
  • See and be seen—drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Watch for turning vehicles at intersections, even if you have the right-of-way.
  • On streets with multiple lanes in each direction, be aware of what drivers in both lanes are doing. If one driver is allowing you to cross, the other might not see you.

How Motorists Can Prevent Accidents

Motorists must also do their part to ensure pedestrians’ safety. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends the following tips for motorists:

  • Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
  • It is illegal to pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you cannot see.
  • Slow down and pay attention when approaching or turning at a crosswalk.
  • If you are turning right at an intersection, and the pedestrian has a lit WALK signal, the pedestrian has the right of way.
  • Do not engage in distracted driving. Taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving can have deadly consequences.