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Seeing the solution to pedestrian crashes

Seeing the solution to pedestrian crashes

Pedestrians and drivers need to work together to reduce the number of people hit by vehicles on New Zealand roads, says the AA.

Monday (May 6) marks the start of Road Safety Week 2013, and the focus this year is on pedestrian safety.

Last year 33 pedestrians were killed and 987 injured after being hit by a vehicle. There will also have been an equally large number of drivers left mentally and emotionally traumatised from being involved in these crashes, even if they are not physically hurt.

It is a terrible amount of harm and made even sadder by the fact that most of the crashes involve people simply not looking or seeing each other.

Crash investigations found that 48% of the crashes involved a pedestrian crossing the road heedless of the traffic while 35% of the crashes involved poor observation by a driver.

Other factors involved in the crashes were a pedestrian stepping out from behind a vehicle (15%), drivers failing to give way or stop (12%), a driver being intoxicated (9%) and a pedestrian being intoxicated (6%). Surprisingly, only 2% of crashes were deemed to involve a driver going too fast.

“The solution is very simple – be aware, look where you are going and take some care of others,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“Drivers can’t assume that pedestrians won’t step out unexpectedly and pedestrians can’t assume that drivers have seen them. Make eye contact to be sure.”

The groups most at risk from being hurt by a pedestrian crash are young people and the elderly. Twenty-four percent of the pedestrians hurt on New Zealand roads in 2012 were aged under 15 and 5% of crashes involved an unsupervised child.

The majority of crashes happened on weekdays, and 3pm-6pm was generally the highest-risk period, so this is a critical time to be alert for the unexpected.

“The AA was surprised to see that out of 949 crashes, just 17 involved a vehicle speeding recklessly and the vast majority happen when either a pedestrian or driver make a mistake and don’t see each other.

“One moment of inattention could lead to a life-changing crash, which is why it’s so important that drivers double-check for pedestrians and pedestrians double-check for vehicles before they step onto the road.”

“The message from the AA: Take care, expect the unexpected and keep safe.”


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