City Council discusses pedestrian safety strategies at study session

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City Council discusses pedestrian safety strategies at study session

By Justin Schecker. CREATED Dec 17, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - One more life lost before the New Year and 2013 will become the deadliest year for Tucson pedestrians in the last decade.

"We're losing too many lives and one is too many," Tucson City Council Member Richard Fimbres said. 

The 19 pedestrians struck and killed in 2013 equals the number of fatal pedestrian collisions in 2011, according to Tucson Police data.

During Tuesday's Tucson City Council study session, the mayor and council discussed its strategies for reducing the number of fatalities on Tucson's streets. 

"We don't need to be talking down to people, but we can be serving as a reminder," Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik said. 

Information presented at the study session shows a majority of the fatal crashes, 13, have happened after dark. 

Most of the time, the pedestrian was at fault. There were 7 jaywalking violations and 4 cases where the pedestrian suddenly entered the path of a vehicle, according to Tucson police data. 

"They can't just run across the street because you don't know if that person is really watching out and paying attention to his driving," Fimbres said. 

As part of the new safety campaign with Allstate Insurance, agents and police officers will start stressing pedestrian and cycling safety tips in our schools.  

"We got to start at an early age," Fimbres said. "If you plant the seed early enough, hopefully they'll take that on to their adulthood."       

Always looking both ways, being aware of your surroundings and using the crosswalk are just some of the lifelong lessons that save lives.

Over the next 5 years, the city plans to add more of High-Intensity Activated Crosswalks.

Research shows these signals, invented by Tucson traffic engineer Dr. Richard Nasssi, are the most effective way to improve pedestrian safety.

City Council members also reviewed data showing Tucson police enforcement of the texting while driving ban that went into effect in April 2012. 35 drivers have received citations and police have issued 15 warnings.  

Both Kozachik and Fimbres told 9 On Your Side they hope lawmakers in Phoenix will soon follow suit with a state-wide ban.