Arizona now third-deadliest state for pedestrians

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2016 figures place Arizona third on the list of states with the most pedestrian deaths per capita. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) 2016 figures place Arizona third on the list of states with the most pedestrian deaths per capita. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Cell phone use is likely the primary cause of the problem, distracting both drivers and pedestrians. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Cell phone use is likely the primary cause of the problem, distracting both drivers and pedestrians. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

As the Valley gears up for a flood of foot traffic surrounding the Final Four, new numbers illustrate an alarming trend. The number of pedestrians killed in Arizona car crashes is going up.

Preliminary data for the first six months of 2016 show the number of deadly crashes in this state jumped 12.8 percent, from 86 in the first half of 2015 to 97 in the first half of 2016.

The 2016 figures place Arizona third on the list of states with the most pedestrian deaths per capita, up from fifth place in 2015, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

“You know, I cannot pin it down,” said Alberto Gutier, the director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “But I can tell you that I see some of the consequences of people that do stupid things.”

Gutier said cell phone use is likely the primary cause of the problem, distracting both drivers and pedestrians.

Across the country, GHSA projects there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in 2016. That is the largest number in more than two decades.

82 percent of pedestrians who are hit and killed by cars are struck outside of an intersection, GHSA said.

Gutier said more enforcement of jaywalking is necessary.

Arizona recently secured a $785,000 federal grant to address pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. The state will spend the money on added enforcement, plus an education and awareness campaign, he said.

Part of the education campaign will include wrapping buses and light rail with messaging, Gutier said, although the project is still in the planning phase.

Arizona, Florida and Tennessee were the only states to receive the grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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