This archived article was written by: Ashley Stilson
Cold weather brings frosted windows, foggy windshields and slick roads. These conditions make it challenging for drivers to spot pedestrians. That’s why it is imperative that pedestrians use crosswalks and warning lights placed around campus. It is also important to note that city and campus police can and will give tickets for jaywalking.
On the morning of September 11, a vehicle hit a pedestrian on 400 north near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint Institute buildings. The pedestrian was using a crosswalk, but the windshield of the vehicle was fogged and the driver didn’t see the pedestrian until the last minute.
The injuries to the pedestrian and the vehicle were minor, but the incident is a reminder to everyone on campus to be careful crossing the roads.
The Utah Legislature defines the duties of pedestrians and drivers. When traffic-control signals are not in place or operation, drivers are required to slow down or stop if necessary when a pedestrian is crossing a crosswalk and is halfway through the lane the driver is located in. The driver must also slow down or stop if a pedestrian is approaching the lane.
Pedestrians are instructed not to suddenly leave a curb and run or walk into the path of a vehicle, according to Utah Code 41-6a-1002.
Crosswalks and warning lights were placed on campus with the sole purpose of keeping people safe. However, it is difficult to keep people safe when pedestrians refuse to take advantage of the safety precautions available. Many choose to jaywalk and are increase their chances of getting in an accident.
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, 21 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in roadways where crosswalks were available, but the pedestrian wasn’t using it. The most hazardous time for a pedestrian to be on the road is between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. and even more so on the weekends during those times.
In 2010, the NHTSA reports 4,280 pedestrian fatalities. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. Almost 30 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 8 p.m. and midnight.
“Most people are pedestrians at some point in their day-that’s why we’re reminding the public to take precautions and use crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross the street,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. The NHTSA recommends pedestrians keep alert at all times and refrain from using electronic devices that could distract from crossing a busy road. They advise never to assume a driver will see a pedestrian. The NHTSA also advises drivers to look out for pedestrians everywhere and slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk.
USU Eastern police chief Lynn Archuleta asked everyone to use the crosswalks. “ETC. ETC. BIG LONG QUOTE FROM THE POLICE CHIEF ABOUT IMPORTANCE OF NOT JAYWALKING.”
Using the crosswalks is not difficult and it tremendously decreases the chances of getting in an accident. Don’t become an accident. Safe crossing everyone.