A Look at Pedestrian Dangers in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is one of the states’ capitals that act as a depiction of vibrant, cultural heritage in addition to a growing population. This growth unfortunately comes with increased traffic and pedestrian hazards. A recent study focusing on the pedestrian accidents in Oklahoma City raises concern over this issue and what it meant to people of that city.

Pedestrian Accidents Increase

According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, pedestrian accidents in the US are at a 40-year high. In the state of Oklahoma and in Oklahoma City these incidents have also risen from 2019-2021. In 2021, Oklahoma saw 771 pedestrian accidents resulting in 104 deaths, 26 of which occurred in the state’s capitol, Oklahoma City. The 250 pedestrian accidents recorded in the city was the highest number in 5 years. Much like the rest of the country, Oklahoma needs to address the growing number of accidents involving the most vulnerable road users.

Dangers to Pedestrians

Unfortunately, many still people choose to drive while drunk or otherwise impaired in spite of the known dangers to themselves and others on the road. In 2021, 8 pedestrians in Oklahoma City lost their live to drunk drivers and many others suffered devastating accidents.

Hit-and-run drivers are also creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians. Leaving a victim on the road can put them at risk of further injury and delay needed medical attention. In 2021, there were 95 hit-and-run pedestrian accidents in Oklahoma City, up from 70 the year before. These types of accidents are impacting cities and towns across the country.

Contributing Factors

Research suggests there are several factors contributing to the rise in pedestrian accidents in recent years. Americans are buying bigger, heavier vehicles that cause more devastating injuries and deaths when they hit a pedestrian. These vehicles often have more blind spots, making it difficult for drivers to see vulnerable road users. Lack of infrastructure including sidewalks, properly marked crosswalks and lighting is also a factor in many of these accidents. Increased cell phone use also leads to distracted driving, a major cause of traffic accidents. Speed is often a factor in car accidents. Small increases in speed can greatly increase a pedestrian victim’s risk of serious injury or death.

Making Roads Safer

There are many steps that can be taken to increase road safety for pedestrians. Better enforcement of speeding and impaired driving laws could help cut down on accidents. Better infrastructure can give walkers a safe place to travel and cross streets. Car technologies that detect hazards and alert drivers can also protect pedestrians. Education programs for new and experienced drivers can help create awareness of this growing problem. Understanding the causes of pedestrian accidents can help us learn ways to improve our roads and vehicle so we can all arrive safely at our destinations.

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