NewsOperation Safe Roads


Jaywalking continues to be a deadly problem in Arizona

Posted at 6:49 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 11:46:34-04

You see pedestrians with their faces buried in their phones. Many times it's across multi-lane streets. And many times it's in the dark. Sometimes they're crossing mid-block.

"It's one mile from intersection to intersection. I'd rather walk 300 feet and cross at a light in a marked crosswalk than risk getting run over," said Alberto Gutier, the director of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Gutier said in an overwhelming majority of crashes involving pedestrians; the pedestrian is at fault. Too many people are jaywalking.

"I see it all the time," he said. "Sometimes with children in their hands."

How bad is the problem? According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, a little less that 20-percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2016 happened at intersections, where most crosswalks are. 72-percent happened in either travel lanes away from intersections, like mid-block or on shoulders or in driveways. In the latest data from Arizona, 228 pedestrians died in crashes in 2017.

"This year the numbers are going pretty high, pretty fast," Gutier said. "We have 111 pedestrian fatalities already in the first six months."

That's just the numbers through June. And though pedestrians may be breaking the rules of the road in most of them, Gutier said those behind the wheel need to drive defensively.

"Know who's in front of you and who's behind you, at the same time watch for pedestrians and watch for bicycles," he said. 

To see the national data on pedestrian fatalities by state, click here.