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Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities Increase: How You Can Stay Safe

The recent death of a Springfield, Illinois pedestrian after a traffic accident is an important reminder about the dangers of pedestrian injuries. Although the exact cause of death remains under investigation, the 53-year-old pedestrian was struck by an SUV last week on Peoria Road. A witness said the SUV didn't stop after hitting the man. The victim was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. Sadly, this death is part of a nationwide increase in pedestrian accidents. In the last ten years, pedestrian fatalities have risen by 14 percent.

This year, more than 50,000 pedestrians will be involved in a traffic crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, 4,092 pedestrians died due to injuries sustained during traffic accidents - a seven percent increase over 2008. And 13,000 injured pedestrians were age 14 and younger. All too often, negligent drivers are speeding, distracted by their phones or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they hit a pedestrian.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

While pedestrians can't control for inattentive drivers, they can follow basic safety tips to reduce the likelihood of an accident. Cross only at corners utilizing traffic signals and designated crosswalks. Before crossing, try to make eye contact with stopped drivers so they recognize you will be entering the road. Remember, just because you can see a driver does not mean the driver can see you. Always use sidewalks or walking paths if possible. When neither of these options are available, walk facing oncoming traffic and stay as far to the left side as possible.

If you are the parent of a young child, talk to your child about pedestrian safety. Remind your child that it is never safe to play in or near the street. If a toy, such as a ball, goes into the road, tell your child to ask an adult for help. Remember, children are smaller and if they unexpectedly run in or near the road, it is more difficult for drivers to see them and stop.

Source: Authorities identify pedestrian killed on Peoria Road

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