Gold and bronze medals go to Texas — too bad it’s not for sports
We Texans are used to winning. But sometimes, it would be better to come in last place.
A poll just ranked deaths to motorists and passengers from vehicular collisions. Unfortunately Texas was first in traffic fatalities of any state in the country and the third in pedestrian fatalities in 2014. A staggering 3,538 people died in automobile crashes and 476 were fatally hit by cars. And we should take little comfort in our 12th ranking for pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents.
Nationwide, 32,675 people died in traffic-related wrecks, and close to 15 percent of those killed were pedestrians. This is an insane number of completely preventable deaths.
Dallas-Fort Worth is not a motorist or pedestrian friendly area
As we all know, automobiles and trucks rule the roads of Dallas-Fort Worth. We all use them to go everywhere. But drivers often fail to yield to other vehicles, let alone walkers, cyclists and runners.
On Sunday afternoon, an 8-year-old was tragically struck by an SUV in his mobile home community in Lewisville after he tried to outrun hornets he had disturbed.
On Saturday night, two residents of Collin County died in a head-on collision when one driver crossed the center line and broadsided the other.
On Saturday night, a pedestrian was killed in Arlington by a hit-and-run driver.
Last year, a 7 year-old child was killed while crossing the street at the intersection of Fair Oaks and Pineland in a designated crosswalk. The little girl was walking with her mother when a van made a legal turn on green and ran into them.
The crosswalk was located near a park and a school and at the top of a hill. City planners should have reasonably foreseen a high number of kids crossing the street and that drivers and pedestrians would have difficulty seeing each other. Nearby residents also noted that the white lines that marked the crosswalk were often faded, so drivers might not even realize they were approaching a crosswalk.
After the tragic death, the city placed a pedestrian warning sign atop the light. This is a start, but it is not enough. Our city’s design should encourage people to be able to safely walk, bike and run.
School’s out and more kids are out and about
Dallas-Fort Worth drivers can also do more to protect pedestrians.
Drivers need to remain extra vigilant now that Dallas-Fort Worth students are out of school. Be extra careful while travelling through residential neighborhoods or passing visual barriers like parked cars. Of course, drivers should never text while driving.
I’ve represented too many children and others who were hit by cars and trucks over the past 36 years and have experienced a few close calls running, walking, and riding my bike.
Please contact my office if you have been injured in a car or truck collision.