CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Safety on the roads is a major cause for concern, especially among pedestrians.
American roads are a danger zone for pedestrians with the number of deaths drastically increasing over the past several years. Pedestrian deaths have risen by over 70-percent since 2010.
In the Commonwealth, in just a one-year-period, between 2021 and 2022, the number of pedestrian deaths jumped up by 35-percent. Distractions and speed were two of the major culprits.
“People are driving significantly faster than conditions allow and when people speed, they’re more likely to hit something or somebody,” said AA Northeast Spokesperson Mark Sheildrop. “If you hit a pedestrian at 25mph, they can be seriously injured but they have a pretty decent chance of surviving. If you hit a pedestrian at 35 mph, their chance of dying increases three times.”
Francheska Colon from Springfield worries about distractions, like cell-phone use, “There’s been a lot of accidents like that, you know? I think people should just be more responsible.”
Another contributing factor is an increase of larger cars and trucks on the roads.
“Some larger vehicles, in fact have much less visibility for the driver to see pedestrians, some vehicles are so large that pedestrians can’t even see above the hood-line,” said Shieldrop.
Locally, cities like Chicopee and Springfield have been working on solutions, including changes to infrastructure, like added flashing lights at crosswalks, street dieting and speed patrolling.
At least 22 people have already died in pedestrian crashes in Massachusetts this year alone. Safety experts urge pedestrians to wear bright, identifiable clothing and make sure a driver sees you before walking into the roadway.