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‘Dramatic increase’ in pedestrian deaths prompts new ALEA campaign

First responders on the scene of a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision on Montgomery's Eastern...
First responders on the scene of a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision on Montgomery's Eastern Bypass, as seen in this file photo.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 2:24 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is launching a new public safety campaign called “Everyone is a Pedestrian” after noting a “dramatic increase” in pedestrian-related crashes and deaths.

ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division and its law enforcement partners across the state investigated 769 such crashes in 2021, with 125 pedestrians dying as a result.

2021 was the deadliest year since at least 2016 when there were 122 pedestrian deaths, according to data from The Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama.

The number could still increase, ALEA cautioned, since local agencies may continue to report additional numbers.

The new campaign aims to bring awareness to the issue and to ensure that both pedestrians and motorists fully understand the hazards associated with crossing or walking near the roadway.

“It is absolutely troubling to see such a dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities across the state,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. “Friends and families are losing loved ones to a senseless tragedy that can be easily avoided.”

“Our Agency’s goal is to bring awareness to this issue and offer safety tips for both pedestrians as well as motorists in an effort to reduce pedestrian-related crashes and to keep all citizens and visitors safe while traveling on Alabama’s roadways,” added Colonel Jimmy Helms, Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety.

ALEA offers these additional safety measures for pedestrians:

◼ Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.

◼ If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder – facing traffic.

◼ Be cautious night and day when sharing the roadway with vehicles. Never assume the driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.

◼ Be predictable, and cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible.

◼ Be visible, and wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.

◼ Do not walk when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which impair your judgment and coordination.

ALEA’s safety measures for drivers include:

◼ Look for pedestrians everywhere. They may not be walking where they should be or may be hard to see – especially in poorly lit conditions, including dusk/dawn hours, at night and in inclement weather, including fog.

◼ Always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or where pedestrian signs are posted.

◼ Never pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. They may be stopped to allow individuals to cross the street.

◼ Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

◼ Follow speed limits, slow down around pedestrians.

“Our goal is to spread our message to all pedestrians and drivers through a variety of methods in an effort to eliminate dangerous behaviors that impact pedestrian safety,” Secretary Taylor said. “We can all do our part to make Alabama’s roadways safer by working together to remain alert and following the safety guidelines offered.”

The Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, provided the following statewide statistics (including local law enforcement agency investigated deaths):

Pedestrian Deaths by Year (According to UA’s CAPS study)

2015 - 96

2016 - 122

2017 - 113

2018 - 106

2019 - 114

2020 - 105

2021 - 125

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