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.