Officials: Pedestrians increasingly ignore rules of road

Hundreds killed, injured in Indy each year

INDIANAPOLIS - Statistics show that hundreds of pedestrians will be killed or injured on the streets of Indianapolis this year, and officials say most of those collisions could be prevented.

Pedestrians and the motoring public have been on a collision course. Drivers have become accustomed to seeing people cross streets at the corners, but they are now encountering them in the middle of the block.

Some pedestrians ignore the sidewalks, they ignore the rules and officials say they are paying the price.

Sandra Hodges struck an intoxicated pedestrian in June, a man wearing dark clothing on a dark street. He was walking with traffic instead of against it.

"I told everybody when I hit the man, I called God, I called the police, then I called the people whose car it was, then I called my mother," Hodges said.

On the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, police have investigated seven pedestrian-struck cases in the past 14 months.

At the beginning of each school year, campus police make an extra effort to warn distracted drivers and distracted students to be more alert.

"I've watched people walk into a wall not paying attention. All we can do is advise them, give them the knowledge. It's all education. It's up to them to heed what they're told," Officer Dave Briggs with the IUPUI campus police said.

The statistics reveal that pedestrians, in increasing numbers, continue to ignore the rules of the road. In Indianapolis last year, 31 people were struck downtown.

In Center Township, 148 pedestrians were struck, and countywide, motor vehicles struck 346 people.

"This is our public. One person a day is getting struck by a car. It is very important. We lose a lot of people every year in this state due to people being struck by cars. And it is something that needs to be addressed," Lt. George Crooks with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Traffic Unit said.

A car traveling at 35 mph covers nearly 52 feet per second. The bigger the vehicle, the faster the speed, which only decreases the odds of a pedestrian surviving a collision.

Striking a pedestrian also leaves a mark on the driver.

"I've had a few accidents in my life. But uh, not a lot but a few, but none of them quite compare to hitting a human. It's something that regardless of whose fault it is, it's something that doesn't come easy," driver Bill Dykes said. Dykes said he was driving less than 30 mph when a pedestrian appeared out of nowhere in front of two parked cars.

Last year, 23 pedestrians died in collisions with cars, the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in three years.

While the number of vehicle crashes has showed a steady decline, pedestrian deaths have increased, officials said.

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a pedestrian is killed nationwide every two hours, and a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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