Arizona Pedestrians Are At Risk
Arizona’s pedestrian death rates are amongst the highest in the country, surpassed by only New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida.
The Arizona Department of Transportation crash data shows that 1,202 pedestrians were hit and killed by motor vehicles between 2014 and 2019, a 42% increase. Further, the amount of pedestrian deaths in Arizona have almost tripled since 2009.
Arizona’s rate of pedestrian deaths in 2018 per 100,000 people was 3.3, compared to the national rate of 1.92 that same year.
Studies regarding pedestrian deaths have shown that over 50% of the fatal pedestrian deaths occur away from crosswalks or intersections at night. Additionally, a 2012 study by the American Journal of Public Health found that the majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in the least affluent areas of the Valley.
Margaret Herrera, a transportation program safety manager with the Maricopa County Association of Governments, stated that transportation systems need to be redesigned with pedestrians in mind, as pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of the transportation system. Herrera recommended improving the lighting of streets to ensure that both pedestrians and vehicle drivers are able to see each other.
“A lot of the issue is pedestrians not looking for vehicles and vehicles not looking for pedestrians,” Herrera said.
Laura Sandt, director of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at the University of North Carolina suggests designing streets that include buffers between pedestrians and vehicles. Further, Sandt commented that a vehicle’s speed can be a determining factor in whether a pedestrian accident is fatal.
“We also know that speed and kinetic energy transfer can play a huge role in whether a pedestrian can survive a crash and whether or not that crash might have been able to be avoided,” Sandt said.
Sandt also suggested that cities can make streets safer for pedestrians by forcing drivers to travel at lower speeds that are less likely to kill a pedestrian should the vehicle be involved in an accident. To keep drivers at lower speeds, Sandt recommends that cities lower speed limits and add additional speed bumps to their roadways.
Following a crash, a personal injury attorney should be consulted. Fault can be investigated, insurance coverages can be looked into, damages claims can be evaluated. Litigation involving the adverse party’s insurance carrier may be necessary. There should be no charge for a consultation, there should be no fees unless a settlement is obtained.
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