An article in the March 8, 2016 Washington Post by Ashley Halsey III is titled “Pedestrian deaths jump, report says.” The subtitle is “There are more drivers and more walkers, and both are distracted.” The report is from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The report estimates that the number of pedestrian fatalities jumped by 10% last year, a year-to-year increase that comes after a 19% increase from 2009 to 2014. This projected 10% increase would bring pedestrian deaths to their highest total since 1996, when 5,449 pedestrians were killed.
Driver deaths are decreasing due to better designed cars. There are a variety of reasons for the increased pedestrian deaths, but distracted driving is either at the top or near the top of the list. A number that is not given is the number of pedestrian deaths caused by pedestrians being on their phones. This is a matter of smartphones making their users dumb and dead. I’ve seen pedestrians so engrossed in their smartphones that they step directly into traffic without looking. One of my abiding fears is that I’ll run into one of these people. The fact that the pedestrian was responsible would not prevent me from my personal trauma.
Another factor bearing on pedestrian deaths is walking at night. I see two problems here. One is that many pedestrians seem to think that there is a symmetry between what they see and what the driver sees, but the cars are big and illuminated and the pedestrian is small and in the dark. This problem is further exacerbated by dark clothing. When I was in school there were posters telling us to wear white after dark. Whatever became of those posters, in particular, and wearing light clothes, in particular.
To see more posts on the problems of distracted driving enter “Strayer” in the search block of the healthy memory blog.
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