For a lot of reasons, the number of pedestrian deaths in this country has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years.
According to one recent report, auto-pedestrian accidents led to 5,987 fatalities across the country in 2016, which was the last year confirmed numbers were available. The number for 2017 are expected to be similar to those of 2017.
What is disturbing is that, despite their being improvements in traffic safety over these years in many other quarters, these number mark a 46 percent increase over the number of fatalities in 2009. Moreover, the number is as high as it was in 1990, almost 30 years ago.
Whatever efforts have been made to this point to assure the safety of those who travel on foot have apparently not been effective. Still, the National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency dedicated to improving roadway safety, has made additional recommendations on how to turn back this disturbing trend.
While some changes involve improved safety equipment on vehicles and better infrastructure, one idea that came up was better enforcement of speed limits, particularly in areas where pedestrians are likely to frequent.
In addition to lower speed limits, which have worked for one large city, having cameras or otherwise of enforcing the speed limit automatically may keep drivers operating the vehicles at speeds slow enough where they won’t be surprised by a pedestrian either crossing or walking in the street.
Hopefully, private industry, the City of Portland and the rest of Oregon can take steps to implement either all or at least some of these recommendations. Until that time, though, Oregon drivers need to remember to slow down and pay attention to the road, particularly when downtown, near a school or in other area where people might be walking. Not doing so can cause a serious accident for which the driver could be held financially responsible.