Out of the 5,376 pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2015, 15 of those fatalities occurred in Arkansas in the first six months of the year as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association. (see Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State) Compared to the same six-months in 2016, deaths were up 40 percent with a total of 21 pedestrian fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published another report, Traffic Safety Facts for 2015, noting that there were 43 pedestrian fatalities for the year in Arkansas. This equaled 8.1 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities in the state. The state, recognizing the increase in these deaths, is developing an infrastructure and safety plan that includes pedestrians but that is only part of the complete program.
The Arkansas Code, Title 27, Chapter 51, Subchapter 12 covers the rights and duties of pedestrians. There are fewer statutory provisions in Arkansas than in other states. An intersection may utilize pedestrian control signals stating “walk” or “don’t walk.” A vehicle must stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk if traffic signals are not working or not used at an intersection (see Arkansas Code 27-51-1202). Pedestrians should stay on the right side of the crosswalk when crossing at an intersection (see Arkansas Code 27-51-1203). Vehicles have the right-of-way when a person is crossing a road outside of a marked crosswalk. People must also give the right-of-way to vehicles when using an overhead pedestrian crossing. If walking between adjacent intersections where traffic signals are in place and working, a pedestrian must use the crosswalk (see Arkansas Code 27-51-1204).
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office is partnering with a number of agencies to create the Arkansas Strategic Highway Safety Plan due to the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities.