The Importance of Pedestrian Safety
2017 Roberts Law Pedestrian Saftey Scholarship Winning Blog
Rachel De Las Casas in the winner of the 2017 Roberts Law Pedestrian Safety Scholarship. The content below is her original work.
Car accidents have become an epidemic with limited solutions. We have designed rectangular metal killing machines that move at 60 miles per hour, placed them on roads with other rectangular metal killing machines also driving 60 miles per hour, and all the while practically giving away licenses to drive them to whoever asks. This has become an inescapable reality of our society; most workers commuting an average of about 25 minutes to get to their workplace and back.
Most people throughout their lifetime can expect to be in about three to four car-related accidents, resulting in an average of about 37,000 deaths in the United States, and another 2.3 million who become injured or disabled as a result. Pedestrian safety has also become one of the most important issues of our time, leaving those unprotected by a ton of iron vulnerable to accidents and leading to rising death tolls.
So, the question is often asked of how can we stay safe? The answer is easy: education. From the elementary ages, we need to focus on informing youth about the dangers of recklessness on the road, both as a driver but especially as a pedestrian. In 2015 in the United States there were 5,376 deaths, and the statistics show that the number is rising every year, increasing by 11% in 2016. By instilling in children, the fact that these are not freak accidents, but rather a very real danger in the modern world where we so heavily depend on cars to get by then we will be able to raise awareness.
Luckily, this is not revolutionary as most elementary schools across the nation have been able to do this efficiently. Look left, right, then left again has become a well-known anthem. Wearing bright clothing is something most individuals know to do when crossing in the dark as well. However, education shouldn’t and can’t stop there.
How Can We Get Better?
It isn’t very hard to get a license- almost anyone with the most basic comprehension of how to drive a car can manage. I suggest intensifying the qualifications needed in order to attain a driver’s license, such as requiring new drivers of all ages to take extensive, mandatory classes across a few months’ time with regular drug checks during this period. This will reduce the number of drivers prone to inebriation, who are much more likely to get into accidents.
Deaths of children up to the age of 14 involving car accidents are 16% likely to involve a drunk driver. The same classes required for children can be refreshed in adults when regarding pedestrians, respecting the road, and crossing it. It can also be extended to inform drivers how to best deal when presented with a sudden danger, such as someone jumping in front of their car, driving through highly populated areas, etc. Although these can seem harsh to us who have grown accustomed to lax laws and subpar education on these issues, it may one day prevent you or someone you love from being grievously injured.
The fact remains that we are all pedestrians. At some point or another in our lives, we will cross a road and roll the dice on whether we’ll make it across. If we can minimize the dangers for ourselves, for drivers, and for our family and friends then we will be making society a better and more secure place for all.