It’s one of the first things we learn as a child: look both ways before you cross the street.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning this week as pedestrian killed in traffic crashes has reached an all-time high, with an average of one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours, according to officials.
In a study released this week, the CDC noted that as recently as 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, 19 percent of which were Americans over the age of 65. In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians, according to the CDC.
Officials also noted that nearly half (48 percent) of crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths involved alcohol for the driver or the pedestrian. One in every three fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol content greater than .08 percent. Fifteen percent involved a driver with a BAC greater than that.
According to the CDC, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.
In response to the rise of pedestrian deaths, the CDC offered a handful of tips to help curtail fatal strikes:
- Pedestrians can increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- Whenever possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
- It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk or path, but if a sidewalk or path is not available, walk on the shoulder and facing traffic.
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