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Phoenix pedestrian education campaign planned in wake of deadly crashes

Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 22:23:11-04

Crime scene tape is still wrapped around the pole at 16th Street and Highland in Phoenix. It's the only thing left pointing to something went wrong at the intersection.

This weekend, a pedestrian was hit and killed trying to cross the street near the intersection. 

Another man was killed at 31st Avenue and Camelback, the second pedestrian during the weekend. 

Sergeant Alan Pfohl with the Phoenix Police Department is keeping track of the number of car-pedestrian crashes in the city. 

There have been 42 people hit by vehicles since January 1st. Thirty have died compared to 56 fatalities in 2017.

The numbers are so bad, Phoenix and state officials are trying to figure out why Arizona is the worst in the nation when it comes to the number of car-pedestrian crashes.

One thought, Phoenix has very wide streets, in some cases seven lanes which can make it a challenge for people to cross and determine where a fast-moving car is actually at.

Another thought is that there are more people out walking because of nice weather. 

The Valley also keeps seeing growth which means more pedestrians and cars which is not the best combination.

According to the state, 226 pedestrians were killed in Arizona in 2017. In 80-percent of those cases, the pedestrian was at fault. The state plans to tackle these numbers.

"Education and target enforcement," said Alberto Gutier, the director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "Targeted enforcement means we're going to have officers."

Gutier says those officers will make contact with the pedestrians who violate the law like not using a crosswalk.

"While the pedestrian might be at fault, drivers also have a responsibility to exercise due caution at all times," Pfohl said.

The City of Phoenix says it plans to roll out a pedestrian education campaign in a couple of weeks, hoping to lower the numbers.