Sheriff’s Update – Pedestrians

sheriffs-updateFrom QA County Sheriff Gary Hofmann



Everyone is a pedestrian at some time, and most know to keep their distance from moving traffic. Despite that, pedestrians were among the few categories of road users where deaths rose, accounting for 14% of total traffic fatalities in 2011, up 3% from 2010. Sadly, the Sheriff says if the proportions remain the same, we can expect that one pedestrian will be injured every 8 minutes and one will die every 2 hours in a traffic crash this year.

Nearly 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban environments (73%), at non-intersections (70%), during the nighttime (70%), and many involve alco- hol. More than a third (37%) of the pedestrians killed, and 1 in 8 (13%) of the drivers in pedestrian fatalities, had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 g/dL or higher in 2011, the illegal limit in every State. Either the driver or pedestrian, or both, had some alcohol in 47% of all fatal pedestrian crashes. The Sheriff encourages everyone to call a friend or a family member to pick you up or chose to stay where you are over night, but by no means, get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

What we know is that pedestrians and drivers do not always obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones and music players while walking or driving. Only 60% of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of- way (Review of Studies on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, 1991-2007.) Sheriff Hofmann says, as simple as it may seem to say, “Please look both ways before crossing and continue to watch while you are in the crosswalk area or if you are a runner or walker, continue to watch your surroundings. Your safety means the most to us and we don’t want to see anyone get hurt”