Pedestrian deaths soar; AZ nation’s 3rd worst

“Distracted drivers” or pedestrians’ own risky behavior to blame?

According to this report released by the Governors (no apostrophe) Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths are soaring and Arizona ranked number three in the nation on the 2016 list of fatalities. (Table 6, Page 14 of the report.)   Colorful infographics are even included.

The blame, it says, lies with distracted drivers. “Enforcement is crucial to changing driver behavior,“ the report declares. It was authored by transportation consultant Richard Retting who works for Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants .The east coast duo have found their niche.

It’s a good bet that most drivers in the Valley and Phoenix metro area would take exception to that misguided characterization blaming them for increased fatalities. Start paying attention to marked crosswalks. Keen observers are well aware that crosswalks are routinely avoided by pedestrians. With children in tow, parents will run across one lane of traffic and then stand in the median waiting for a break in oncoming cars to charge across the opposite lane. This dangerous behavior is customary, by no means an occasional anomaly.

Others will saunter across the street a dozen or more feet outside the crosswalk as if the marked lines providing pedestrian safety were for someone else. Lines are not for the cool. They are for obedient dolts.

Socioeconomic factors also play a role. When Phoenix area summertime temperatures are routinely in the triple digits, people are not walking for pleasure. They are walking because they have no choice. Could it be resentment of their circumstances makes the idea of staying within the crosswalks less appealing?

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, from 2004 to 2014, there were an average of 22 confirmed wrong-way crashes on freeways each year, and eight fatalities on average each year from such calamities. How many of those drivers are unable to read the signs?

Bicyclists have their own lanes in most cities these days. Life should be good for the greenies. But they no longer walk their bikes across busy streets and frequently switch into auto lanes using driver‘s arm signals to show they are not pedaling lesser modes of transportation. Helmets provide minimal protection. When they are in the driver’s blind spot, tragedy can result.

Motorcyclists, repeatedly changing lanes while speeding through traffic are another risky group, posing hazards to pedestrians and other vehicles on the roadways.

The report did concede that 82% of deaths occurred outside of intersections. That fact alone confirms that “distracted drivers” are not the culprits to pedestrians who thumb their noses at the painted lines in the street, put there to ensure their safety.

Look for the Governors Highway Safety Association to keep churning out these half-baked reports — between attending conferences in Seattle, Washington; Nashville, Tennessee; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 2017 conference is slated for Louisville, Kentucky. They might think of using that confab to put the onus for pedestrian deaths where it most frequently belongs — with the pedestrians.

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5 Responses to Pedestrian deaths soar; AZ nation’s 3rd worst

  1. Vince says:

    I’ve noticed the same behavior you describe as mothers with numerous young children, sometimes with a stroller carrying an infant, will dash into the street where there is no intersection, cross walk or light. I once stopped a police officer who observed the exact same thing I did and asked him why he didn’t pull over and talk to the mother about her dangerous behavior. He told me it was “cultural.” I asked him how putting small children in harm’s way was cultural and I was told that’s PPD policy. No kidding!

  2. MacBeth says:

    This “report” made me seethe. Placing the sole blame of pedestrian deaths on drivers is absurd. Pedestrians often put themselves in harm’s way. When parents bring their kids along for the dangerous foray, they should be arrested, not merely observed as exercising their cultural rights. This is Arizona. It is not Mexico, Honduras or Guatemala…yet.

  3. PC and State Committeeman says:

    Could it be that we as a state, have so many drunk illegal aliens and a high number of drugs influencing many drivers thanks to the large amount of drugs coming across our border. Consider we live in a state that has a preponderance of sunny days with clear viability on relatively straight roads yet idiots texting, applying make up or in deep road rage add to these outrageous stats. For some of us living in towns that are so insane with narrowing auto lanes for 8 foot bike lanes that no one uses causing traffic nightmares. As for the PDs some policies are just as insane as the city councils that are implementing the UN Agenda 21 at an alarming rate. As for cultural it is more like the dumbing down of humanity by substandard education co opted to indoctrinate people with the globalists climate changes ie global warming myths and that DIVERSITY is better than sovereignty or patriotism.

  4. Joseph Bickley, Sr. says:

    However, if you consider that most drivers are now focused more on their digital devices, texting, dialing, etc., than being diligent in driving, there is ample evidence that they are certainly distracted, whether they figure in the stats regardless. The cell phone is a growing menace.

  5. Saguaro Sam says:

    This is a HUGE topic in my world.
    Yesterday, April 15, saw a lot of carnage on AZ roads.

    Three dead on I-17 due to a wrong-way driver.
    (Just a few days ago, it was a wrong-way driver coming out of the Globe, AZ area who killed one innocent and injured another.)

    Yesterday also saw a Hispanic male rob a GMC dealership at gunpoint during the morning rush hour. After demanding and being given the keys to a expensive pick up truck, he led police on a dangerous high speed chase going from Avondale in the West Valley all the way down to Sacaton on I-10. The GMC dealership activated the On-Star system in the truck and the police were able to disable the vehicle and disabled the door locks, which kept the suspect from fleeing.

    Then there was a multi-vehicle crash on I-40 between Seligman and Flagstaff (about which DPS has given very little info).

    On Thursday, April 14, a man driving a large Dodge pick up truck smashed into a smaller vehicle while driving on US 60 (Grand Avenue) in the vicinity of Surprise. The driver stated that, while driving, he looked down to reach for his coffee cup and rear-ended the vehicle ahead of him with such impact that the fire department had to use the jaws of life to reach the innocent victim. The innocent victim was so injured that it was decided to bypass Banner Del Webb Hosp., just 5 miles away, in lieu of airlifting to a trauma center.

    Meanwhile, there are now Three medical marijuana stores doing business in Sun City!!!

    And you can drive all over this State all day long and Never see any law enforcement agency doing traffic control.
    Yes, I know that traffic stops are dangerous for police officers.
    But this lack of traffic enforcement has been going on in AZ for decades.

    If the State is not interested in saving lives, then politicians may want to consider at least the revenue source that they are losing when police agencies fail to enforce traffic laws.