Pedestrian deaths rapidly rising in Phoenix

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 01:32:37-04

It's a new coalition to stop a street safety problem that is skyrocketing.

Robby Capizzi works at the Shell gas station on 32nd Street and Thomas Road, which is just one Phoenix intersection known to be unsafe.

"I actually see accidents I could safely say once every three weeks."

Every day, Capizzi sees distracted drivers and walkers, people not waiting for the lights or using the crosswalks.

In less than five minutes, ABC15 cameras captured this man wheeling through traffic, and two people making a run for it, all just feet away from a spot they could safely cross.

Alberto Gutier is the director of Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety. He says the number of pedestrian deaths is rising rapidly.

"In two years now we have increased over 180 fatalities which is horrendous," he said. "People need to respect vehicles and vehicles need to respect people."

Fed up, Gutier is using federal grant money for a solution. He's putting together a task force to figure out better ways to enforce the rules of the road. 

"It's the best thing they could ever do because the police are there to maintain order when there's no order and there's deaths happening," Capizzi said. "It can happen at any second to anybody."

That brand new task force includes leaders from Flagstaff down to Tucson, and they just met for the very first time.