Mar 25, 2014 9:52 AM
Safety official urges drivers and pedestrian to follow safety rules. Louisiana's pedestrian deaths jumped to 122 in 2012, the highest number recorded since 1997 when 138 people died as a result of colliding with motor vehicles.
"Many pedestrian deaths occur under similar conditions to crash deaths involving only vehicles," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "In both types of deaths, factors often involve alcohol, evening hours and weekends. We believe most pedestrian deaths are avoidable." While there traditionally has been much attention paid to child pedestrian safety, all but 10 of the 122 pedestrian victims in 2012 were 21 or older. Alcohol was present in 43 percent of the pedestrians killed but that figure could be higher because the presence of alcohol in many of the fatalities was unknown or test results were pending. More pedestrians were killed on Fridays and Saturdays than on other days. Ninety-six of the 122 pedestrian deaths occurred in evening hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The 2012 pedestrian deaths represented a significant increase over the 93 pedestrians killed in 2011.
In addition to the fatalities, 1,343 pedestrians were injured in Louisiana in 2012. Nationally, pedestrian deaths increased by 7.1 percent in 2012, which is the most recent year for which completed state and national statistics are available. Both motorists and pedestrians should be aware that alcohol can severely limit your ability to make decisions and to react properly in traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission urge pedestrians and drivers to follow basic safety guidelines and rules.
· Slow down. During the evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
· Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
· Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.
· Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials - such as fluorescent tape - to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
· Don't depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
· Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
· Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.
· When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars from the curb.
· Do not cross the street if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
· Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
· Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions.
· Be especially careful when walking while talking on the phone or using earphones.