Arizona has earned a national reputation, and it’s not a good one.
In the past week, there have been ten pedestrian traffic fatalities in the Phoenix area as reported by The Arizona Republic.
The fatalities continued a deadly Arizona trend noted in a national safety report released on March 1, when the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that Arizona had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S., based on available data from 2017.
The most recent deaths occurred in an accident on Tuesday when three people died, and one was in critical condition after a vehicle jumped a curb in Fountain Hills, according to Maricopa County law enforcement.
What do Arizona government officials have to say about this disturbing trend?
“This is horrible. This is a major crisis that we have here in Arizona,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) in Arizona, when contacted Tuesday by The Arizona Republic about the latest pedestrian fatalities.
“I am horrified because I’ve seen for the last two years the increase of pedestrian fatalities going up,” Gutier said. “The state is doing the best they can. Cities have marked crosswalks; they have signs that say, ‘Don’t cross here’ and they still do it.”
The national report released March 1 shows Arizona had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population based on data for the first six months of 2017.
Recently, the GOHS received a $793,250 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for pedestrian and bicyclist enforcement and education efforts in Arizona, Gutier said.
The funding will focus mainly on the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. Police departments in Tucson, Chandler, Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix, and Sahuarita will receive part of the funding.
While some accidents are the result of driver error, the campaign will target pedestrian behaviors. The second portion of the funding will be on targeted enforcement.
Please-if you are a pedestrian, use marked crosswalks. Drivers, stay vigilant and always keep an eye out for pedestrians.