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We are back again today continuing with the pedestrian-car-truck-bus-train collision news items. As I previously stated, there are so many of them just since the first of the year. How about if for this month, both drivers and pedestrians pay more attention to what’s ahead or what’s coming. Today we’ll look at one additional news item that adds to our investigation into what themes or reasons (causes) as to why pedestrians get struck so much. By analyzing how pedestrians get into accidents with motor vehicles maybe we can avoid finding ourselves in this situation. This one is mostly from Pennsylvania where the Record did such a good job of editorializing on the issue of pedestrian safety.
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – April 2009 – A woman was struck and killed as she walked onto Route 611 at the intersection of Glen View Drive. The Pocono Record took the opportunity to editorialize on the issue of driver and pedestrian safety issues. The Record states:
“Transportation officials say 80 percent of crashes stem from drivers' mistakes, everything from driving under the influence to aggressive driving. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Ron Young said growth areas where traffic volume rises and causes congestion typically produce more crashes and traffic deaths. Monroe County's rapid growth has stabilized, yet the high rate of accidents continue[s]. [sic] Especially troubling is that at least 12 pedestrians and one bicyclist have been struck by cars or trucks over the past two years in Monroe County.
What to do? The Safe 80 Task Force began in early 2001 after an especially horrible truck accident killed two passing motorists on the busy interstate. Local residents and officials joined forces to look for ways to improve safety. Intensive enforcement by the state police dramatically curbed speeding. An interagency truck safety enforcement project pulled hundreds of unsafe heavy commercial vehicles off the road. Strategically placed white highway dots helped clue drivers in on safe following distances. The task force worked on educating motorists and increasing safe driving behavior.
The result? The I-80 accident rate fell.
Monroe and Pike citizens must pursue ways to stem the gruesome tide of serious accidents. State and local police should rededicate themselves to targeted problem areas. Road margins must be painted regularly, and signs should indicate pedestrians where appropriate. Schools and parents must educate children on how to walk safely to bus stops and how to cross safely at intersections. Thousands of children and teens living in far-flung housing developments desperately need that basic but potentially life-saving education.
Monroe County's fragmented state delegation — six senators and four representatives — should cooperate to push legislation that will allow local police, not just state police, to use radar on speeders.
And of course motorists themselves must commit to safe driving habits, dropping the cell phone and other distractions and focusing on the road.
The early enthusiasm behind the Safe 80 program paid dividends. Let's renew the local commitment to highway safety, helping to make driving a privilege and not a threat, and start saving lives again.”
See Expand Safety to Pocono Roads, April 14, 2009.
I apologize to the Pocono Record for quoting so extensively but they should get credit for saying it so well. I couldn’t have stated it any better. Are you sure you guys and gals aren’t personal injury lawyers? Let’s hope the legislature follows their advice.
In a related story Susan Koomar, the Record Senior Managing Editor lists at least fourteen additional pedestrian-car-truck collisions in which the pedestrian was seriously injured or killed. Some pedestrians sustained a head injury and brain damage that did not kill them but more than likely disabled them for life. These collision scenarios include walking to school, walking home from work, walking to the bus stop, walking along the road side to get gas after running out of fuel, standing on a street corner waiting to cross, a child riding a bicycle, drivers veering and striking pedestrians while in pedestrian safe zones, driving while intoxicated and drivers speeding.
What are the many ways pedestrian’s can be injured or killed? That question comes up more times than you can quickly think of. In this post, which is being turned into a page for our Iowa pedestrian viewers, we examine the infinite number of ways pedestrians can be seriously injured or killed.
Many of you want to blame the driver or the pedestrian, depending on the camp from which you start you will draw conclusions based on predetermined and preconceived prejudice. But read through these over the next few weeks and see if you haven’t found yourself or your children in these precarious situations. They aren’t as far fetched or easily avoided as you might think. And again I can’t believe how many there have been in just the past few months. There are more to report on but I grew weary of reading and writing about so many.
So sit back, read and be patient. If you find my advice lacking, I invite you to comment to add your own words of advice. As always my point in writing is about safety; and in this instance, pedestrian safety.
Spokane, Idaho, May 8, 2009 - A 68-year old North Idaho man was struck and killed by a race car spinning out of control at the Spokane County Raceway. With Iowa just having built and opened the Newton Speedway and being the state where races take place at the Iowa Fair grounds along with Knoxville, pedestrians may find this case of interest. The man was struck hard enough to be thrown up into a tree. He was said to have died instantly.
Alberta, Canada – November 2008 - A 44-year-old man was run down and killed as he walked across the parking lot of a busy Flying-J truck stop. The semi-truck driver was visibly shaken after the collision.
Edmonton, Canada – August 2008 - A 53-year-old man crossing the street was run down by an oncoming motorist while attempting to cross a busy street at a place other than a crosswalk. The driver of the 1976 Datsun was 19-years-old.Raleigh, North Carolina, March 2009 - A 71-year-old pedestrian was killed after being struck by one SUV and then run over by three other vehicles while he was lying in the road. The SUV driver briefly stopped, then returned to his landscaping white truck and drove off. This is the same location where two young brothers were killed as they darted out into traffic while attempting to cross the street.
A couple of pedestrian accidents caught my eye because they were killed due to being distracted by cell phones, mp3 players or iPods. A search in the Internet turned up a lot more than I expected. Here is a sampling of what is out there in cyberspace.
NPR recently aired a very good story about digital distractions while driving.
NPR Story, Caution: Walking And Cell Phones Don't Mix, Carol Guensburg.
Megan Roth and I have written before about distractions caused by cell phone use along with iPods. Some other articles of interest are listed.
So what is going on with pedestrians? Like car and truck drivers pedestrians are allowing their cell phones to distract them to the point of getting killed. Here are a few examples.
Joshua Phillips White, 16, was killed while wearing MP3 player earphones and walking on a train track. February 22, 2009.
Lisa Carolyn Moran, 20, a University of North Carolina exchange student from Scotland, was listening to an iPod while jogging when she stepped into the path of a bus in Chapel Hill last May. Lisa Moran’s personal website.
Vicky Baker, 39, was talking on her cell phone when she was struck and killed by a train in Albertville, Ala., in December 2008.
Apple, the most prominent manufacturer, declined to comment for this story. Christine Monaghan, spokeswoman for its iPod line, said Apple's Web site offers guidance for safe use.
COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP -- A funeral will be held Saturday for a Galesburg-Augusta High School junior who was hit by an Amtrak train Tuesday afternoon.
Alan Michael Eaton Chandler, 17, was hit as he crossed the tracks near his house in the 8800 block of East Michigan Avenue.
According to preliminary reports, Baker was using a cell phone while walking and apparently did not hear the train’s warning and walked into the path of the train, Smith said. The train struck Baker as she was attempting to move from the tracks, he said. December 2008
Tara McAvoy, 18, was killed while she was text-messaging her family. Tara, who was named Miss Deaf Texas in June, 2005, was struck by a train as she walked along the railroad ties.
Zachariah Smith, 18, of Ohio, was texting on his phone while walking across railroad tracks. Witnesses report that Smith let one train pass, walked around a gate and was struck by a second train. Although he was thrown 50 feet, Smith survived. August 21, 2007.
Scott Slaughter, 31, of Berkeley, California was talking on his cell phone when he was struck and killed by an Amtrack train. Similar to the Ohio case listed above, witnesses said that Slaughter let one train pass and walked into the path of a second train. November 19, 2007.
Florida Woman Struck and Killed While Using Her Phone
Dawn Ann Thoma, 32, of Florida was killed when she drove into the path of a freight train. Dawn was talking to her brother on the phone at the time of the crash.
There is a website mycellphoneiskillingme.com that lists many of these accidents caused by electronic distractions. As they point out many of these accidents are underreported because people don’t want to admit to having used their cell phones. Here is the list they compiled.
• New York — Five girls who had recently graduated high school were killed when their SUV crashed. Phone records show that the phone registered to the driver (Bailey Goodman) was in use at the time of the crash. Evidence also suggests that she was speeding.
• New York — Five people were killed when Shawn E. Roush lost control of his car. Roush was legally drunk, driving 90 and arguing with his wife on his cell phone at the time of the crash.
• Wisconsin — Witnesses report that 48-year-old Janet Indermuehle was talking on her phone when she lost control and crashed. Indermuehle, her 15-year-old son Daniel Hall, and 14-year-old Tiffany Kastner were all killed.
• Indiana — Eight people were killed when a semi-trailer slammed into a line of cars. The trucker, Leonardo Cooksey, 32, was trying to charge his cell phone and didn't notice that traffic had stopped.
• Minnesota — 21-year-old Leanne Toepper was killed while chatting on her phone. The person she was talking to heard her screams before the phone went dead.
• Montana — 13-year-old Frances Margay Schee was killed when her school bus was hit by a semi-trailer. The trucker, Reinaldo Gonzalez, admitted that he was talking on his cell phone at the time of the crash.
• Arizona — Police report that 18-year-old Ashley Miller was sending a text message when she crossed the center line and slammed into a vehicle driven by Stacey Stubbs. Both Miller and Stubbs were killed.
• Wisconsin — 22-year-old Adam Teumerd was killed after his vehicle left the road and crashed into water. Adam was talking on his cell phone when the person he was speaking with heard the accident.
• Ohio — Karyn Cordell, 22, and her unborn child were killed when 16-year-old Alexander Manocchio reached over to answer his phone and slammed head-on into Cordell's car.
• Illinois — Katlin McGuire, age 20, was killed when she was distracted by her cell phone. Her passenger received serious injuries.
• Ohio — Seventeen-year-old twins, Kathy and Kimberly Seager, were killed while stopped at a railroad crossing. The twin's car was crushed from behind by a 23-year-old driver who was talking on his cell phone. The driver didn't even try to stop.
• California — Los Angeles commuter train engineer Robert Sanchez missed a signal that caused 25 people to lose their lives. Records indicate that Sanchez had been texting on his phone.
• California — Gladis Andrade-Zepeda, 33,
dropped her cell phone and was looking for it when she crashed. Andrade-Zepeda was killed when her car was struck by a second vehicle.
• Washington — Witnesses told the FBI that Sela Anne Kalama, 19, was texting on her phone when she drove off the road and into a river. 17-year-old Vanna K. Francis and 15-year-old Ronnie Scroggins were killed in the crash.
• Wyoming — Brittany Rentas, 16, was killed after the car she was driving collided with another vehicle. Rentas had been texting on her phone.
• Montana — Christie Johnson, 34, was killed while trying to plug in her cell phone. Four passengers were injured.
• North Carolina — Macy Winslow, 16, was killed when her vehicle crossed the center line and struck another vehicle. State Police report that there is strong evidence to suggest that Macy had been using her phone when she was killed. Two other people suffered injuries.
• Montana — An unnamed 43-year-old man was using his cell phone at the time he slammed into the back of a logging truck on U.S. 93, near Missoula. The man died in the crash.
• Oklahoma — 19-year-old Brittanie Montgomery was killed while driving and using her phone. Brittanie was a dancer for the Hornets NBA basketball team. Her mother is now an advocate for banning the use of cell phones while driving.
• Massachusetts — John McCarthy, 58, was hit and killed by a driver who admitted to sending a text message at the time of the crash.
• Ohio — Five-year-old Dameatrius McCreary was killed after exiting a school bus. Angelique Dipman told police that she hit Dameatrius because of reaching down to answer her phone.
• Florida — Stephanie Phillips, 37, and Heather Hurd, 26, were killed when a tractor-trailer ran a stop light. The trucker was distracted by text-messaging on his phone. Numerous other people suffered injuries. (Accident Pics)
• Florida — Dawn Ann Thoma, 32, was killed when she drove into the path of a freight train. Dawn was talking to her brother on the phone at the time of the crash.
• California — According to the Highway Patrol, Ronald Rudisill, 63, was killed by a driver who was allegedly driving under the influence of drugs and sending a text message. The driver didn't see that traffic had stopped.
• California — 16-year-old Kayla Preuss was killed when the vehicle she was driving went out of control and crashed. She had been drinking, speeding, and sending text messages at the time of the crash. Her open cell phone was found at her feet
• California — 5-year-old Kyle Coble and his two sisters Emma, 4, and Katie, 2, were all killed when the vehicle they were in was slammed into by trucker Jorge Miguel Romero, who was trying to check his cell phone voice mail.
• Missouri — Two-year-old Jackson Moore was killed when his dad—who was riding an ATV with his son—looked down to check an incoming text message.
• Missouri — Three people were killed and 15 injured when trucker Jeffrey R. Knight was distracted by his cell phone.
• Virginia — Joan D. Skupien, 40, was using her phone when her car left the road and crashed into a tree. Skupien died in the crash.
• Virginia — Michael Ozyjowski, 75, was killed when he was run off the road by a woman driving and talking on a cell phone.
• Indiana — Sarah L. Woodruff, 20, was killed when her car left the road and flipped 6 times. State Police report that Sarah had been texting on her phone.
• Indiana — Rodney O. Thompson, 18, was killed when his vehicle slammed into a tree. A passenger said that Thompson had been text-messaging at the time of the crash.
• Connecticut — 82-year-old James Morrissey died a month after being run down by a driver chatting on a cell phone.
• Illinois — Matt Wilhelm, age 25, was killed by a driver who was busy downloading ringtones onto her phone.
• New Jersey — 7-year-old Sierra Kerber was killed when a driver on a cell phone ran a red light and crashed into an SUV driven by Sierra's father.
• Oklahoma — Jessalyn Sanders, 6, was killed while walking across a street. The driver, Justin Pearsall, told police that he didn't see Jessalyn because he had reached down to answer his phone.
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