PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It seems like a week doesn’t pass that we don’t hear about a pedestrian being killed on the roads.
In fact, we average losing a dozen people per month to pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania.
After a slight dip in 2020 due to the pandemic, it appears the numbers are once again climbing.
Ryan Frazee with the Washington County Public Safety Department says whether you are on foot or behind the wheel, “Everybody’s in a hurry, people are starting to be a little careless.”
By the numbers, 146 people died in pedestrian accidents across Pennsylvania last year, and that was a year when many people were off the road due to the pandemic.
“Unfortunately a lot of it can probably be contributed just not people not paying attention, people playing on their phone while they’re walking, trying to text and make phone calls while they’re driving, not being observant of what’s around you, and being aware of your surroundings,” Frazee says.
One issue is an increase in speed in parking lots.
“It’s is not more important than somebody is life, take your time driving through parking lots,” Frazee says.
He adds that pedestrians always have the right of way.
“It may be the law, it may be the truth, but realistically, if you step in front of a car, the car is going to win,” he says.
WATCH: Staying Safe On The Roads As A Pedestrian And As A Driver
But he quickly points out pedestrians have a responsibility to not jaywalk.
“You may save 10 steps by not going into the corner, but unfortunately, it could cost you your life,” Frazee says.
Frazee says both drivers and pedestrians should remember an important rule.
“Don’t make any assumptions. Make sure you’ve maintained that right away and confirmed with eye contact that you guys both have seen each other,” he explains. “As much as you may have the right away. Not all drivers are going to be alert, and see you and there’s going to be that opportunity that they can be distracted. If you are walking along a road Frazee says wear light clothing, carry a flashlight at night and if you’re on a non-sidewalk road we definitely want to be facing towards traffic so we can see people coming.”
As for being in a parking lot, “be observant you know try to stay close to the cars don’t walk down the middle of the aisles, try to cross, after you’ve looked both ways not dart out between two cars.”
If you are behind the wheel and someone is loading the back of their car, Frazee says move over into the “other lane.”
“Give the greatest amount of distance between the car and the people just in case that person does make a quick movement,” he says. “You have a lot more room to react as the driver.”
Frazee says shoppers should back into their parking space when possible for safer loading, and always put their children in the car first before unloading their cart.
This situation is only going to get worse he says as we move through fall and have less light during the day.
Frazee points out this is not just a city problem.
“Even in small towns, you know small communities, people out for walks on small country roads they need to follow the same kind of, kind of rules of the road and pay attention.”