Pedestrian accidents more than doubled in 2019 for Tuscarawas County, Ohio, according to The Times Reporter (https://www.timesreporter.com/news/20200308/pedestrian-accidents-more-than-double-in-2019-include-three-fatalities).
Ten people killed in traffic accidents over the course of the year were pedestrians, and there were 15 pedestrian deaths total in 2019, which is more than double the seven seen in 2018.
Safe Communities of Tuscarawas County, a county health department program, is currently looking into the causes to find solutions and prevent this dangerous trend from continuing. Members hail from various county organizations and agencies and meet quarterly to review fatal crashes in the county and find patterns or trends that could be contributing to the incidents.
There was already an accident involving a pedestrian in a wheelchair at the beginning of the year. In January, a man in a motorized wheelchair was struck by a car while crossing N. Broadway and Minnich Avenues. Luckily, the 43-year-old man, in that case, was not seriously hurt, but police noted his wheelchair did not have any reflectors on it, and lack of lighting was a factor in all of the fatal pedestrian crashes in 2019.
Two such incidents occurred in the same mile-long section of E. High Avenue in the City of New Philadelphia. A 47-year-old was hit by a car there at night in November; in May, a 76-year-old man was hit by an SUV when crossing during a rainstorm. This area is home to many businesses, and Safe Communities is considering putting up pedestrian safety educational materials there because the location attracts nearby residents frequently.
Earlier in 2019, a 54-year-old man from the same city was hit and killed by a truck on a dimly lit avenue in January. The man was not in a crosswalk at the time of the accident, and the driver told the local police that he did not see the man.
Unfortunately, this increase in pedestrian traffic fatalities is part of a trend at large across the country. The Governors Highway Safety Association released a report in February that estimated there were close to 6,600 pedestrian deaths in 2019, which is the highest number that has been recorded in more than three decades.
In the report, several factors were cited, and patterns were found that were contributors to this troubling increase. Most of the deaths happened on local roads, outside of crosswalks and at night. Unsafe behaviors by drivers, including drowsy drivers, speeding and distracted driving, posed risks to pedestrians in many cases. The association also found that pedestrians who were struck by an SUV were twice as likely to die as people struck by cars.
Safe Communities has proposed several measures for Tuscarawas County to increase pedestrian safety. Their ideas include orange flags for wheelchairs, well-marked and safe crosswalks in areas where crashes have occurred and raised road bumps before crosswalks to alert drivers.
A pedestrian accident can impact your life for years to come medically and financially. Speak with a personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Denver, CO, about your case if you were injured in a pedestrian accident.
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