FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — From 2010 to 2021, pedestrian traffic fatalities rose by 77% across the United States. That’s according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The GHSA also said that 2022 saw the most pedestrians struck and killed in 41 years. The number was more than 7500.
Locally, WANE 15 can count at least six reports on pedestrians who were hit and killed since April of this year. Plus, there are more stories of pedestrians who were hit but survived.
What’s the problem and how does it get fixed?
WANE 15 spoke to the City of Fort Wayne’s traffic engineer, Kyle Winling, on Tuesday about how the city views such indicents.
Winling said a lot of it boils down to everyone — especially drivers — paying better attention.
“There is a shared responsibility with drivers and pedestrians. Ultimately, the drivers need to be aware. I think it’s going to be easier to blame a driver than it is a pedestrian,” Wingling said. “Unfortunately, the drivers really have to be situationally aware of where they’re going and always be paying attention. Don’t be distracted. That’s probably one of the biggest things. When you look around, you see people talking on their phone, maybe looking at their phone.“
He said the city extensively looks at every fatal pedestrian crash. Did it happen in a crosswalk? What time of day was sit? Was the area well-lit? Was the area marked well? Plus, he said there are plenty of other factors they can’t always account for.
According to Winling, the city and the public works division are always looking at ways to improve road designs and safety for pedestrians, but, at the same time, a single crash isn’t going to show a systemic problem across the entire city.
He also added the context that there are a number of fatalities that are labeled as “pedestrian” where the city may have nothing they can do to improve the situation. One scenario would be someone hit and killed in a parking lot.
He said accidents can happen, but the number of rising pedestrian fatalities can be improved by drivers and pedestrians alike following the rules of the roads and paying close attention.