Pedestrian fatalities in Nebraska climb to highest level since 1991

A summary of pedestrian fatalities and injuries across the state shows that from 2000 to 2017, an average of 11 pedestrians died each year and 390 were injured on Nebraska roadways. 

So far this year, 21 pedestrians have tragically lost their lives on Nebraska roadways. The Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office reports that this is the most pedestrian fatalities since 1991, when 24 were tragically killed on Nebraska roadways. 

AAA says drivers and pedestrians alike must share the responsibility of keeping themselves and others safe on the roadways. Pedestrians should consider wearing bright-colored clothing to increase their visibility, especially when walking at night. 

They should cross only at corners or designated areas. When crossing a street, always be on the lookout for vehicles approaching in all directions, including those turning right on a red light. Both pedestrians and drivers should avoid distractions, such as using communication devices that take their minds and eyes off the roadway. 

Drivers and pedestrians should always avoid driving or walking while impaired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as it poses a danger to all roadway users. 

Drivers stopped in front of a crosswalk at a red light should always look both ways after the light has changed to green. Don’t accelerate until the crosswalk is clear of pedestrian traffic. Sun glare can also pose a threat to pedestrians and drivers, especially just after sunrise and before sunset. 

This glare can make it much harder to see the road ahead, creating an added risk to drivers and pedestrians. Drivers should keep a pair of polarized sunglasses in close reach. Grime on the inside and outside of the windshield can compromise a driver’s ability to see, so make certain both are cleaned on a regular basis. Use the visor as needed to reduce glare. 

When visibility is a problem, drivers should increase their following distance and decrease their speed. Drive with headlights on even during daylight hours to increase visibility to other drivers and pedestrians. Always scan the roadway and look specifically for pedestrians in the traffic mix. 

 With fewer daylight hours, and many pedestrians out and about this time of year running holiday errands, AAA reminds motorists to expect pedestrians anywhere at any time and always yield to them. 

In Nebraska, the highest pedestrian death toll occurred in 1966, when 51 pedestrians died in traffic crashes. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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