Oklahoma Pedestrian Fatalities
Motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents occur mostly in urban areas, but you may be surprised to learn that most of these accidents don’t happen at intersections. And as much as drunk driving awareness and enforcement campaigns have worked to decrease alcohol-related traffic deaths, the same cannot be said about pedestrian alcohol use. In fact, 46 percent of all pedestrians who were killed in traffic accidents after 9 p.m. had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above.
Nationally, motor vehicle traffic crashes that result in death have fallen significantly over the past four decades, however, pedestrian deaths remain at 15 percent of all traffic deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in Oklahoma, pedestrian deaths actually increased from 2006 to 2015, rising from 46 deaths to 69. Unhelmeted motorcycle rider deaths also increased during that time period rising from 48 to 62 while bicyclists deaths bounced from a high of 13 in 2013 to a low of 3 in 2007.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are several measures Oklahoma, and other states can do to reduce deaths and lessen the severity of pedestrian injuries. These include introducing engineer safety measures like traffic barriers, sidewalks, overpasses, underpasses, refuge islands, or another measure that separates pedestrians and motor vehicles. Improved intersection traffic signal timing, crosswalk beacons that alert drivers to pedestrian traffic, and better illumination in danger zones are also effective. Reducing the speed limit can also help decrease fatalities and the severity of pedestrian injuries.
Vehicle designs reduce pedestrian impact injuries to the head, pelvis, and leg can help reduce injuries as can vehicles with crash avoidance systems that break before an impact, and backup cameras that help a driver see behind them.
Pedestrian and drivers must do more to increase safety for all road users, including not walking or driving a roadway when you are intoxicated, paying attention to what’s going on around you instead of being on your phone, and following traffic laws that have been proven to reduce accidents and deaths.