Nebraska’s highway safety administrator says it’s tough to explain why more pedestrians have been killed this year on the state’s roads compared to last year.
Figures from the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office show that 13 pedestrians have been killed on Nebraska roads so far this year. At this time last year, the state had eight pedestrian fatalities, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
The state has seen an average of 10 pedestrian deaths annually from 2007 to 2016, according to the Highway Safety Office. Such deaths have been increasing in recent years, including 18 in 2015.
“There really isn’t anything we can put our finger on that is common,” Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek said. “There’s not anything we can really look at and say, `This is the reason they’re up.”‘
The deaths have occurred in rural and urban settings. Zwonechek said he hopes the increase is “just an anomaly.”
Pedestrians and drivers need to pay attention to avoid such deaths, Zwonechek said. People who are walking should cross at crosswalks, wear bright colors, follow traffic signals and ensure they’re visible to drivers, he said. Drivers also need to commit their full attention to driving and be aware of their surroundings, he said.
“We’re all pedestrians at some point,” Zwonechek said. “So we all ought to be paying attention.”
While the number of pedestrian deaths has increased, fatal bike crashes have decreased, even as more people are riding bikes, Zwonechek said. So far this year, there have been no fatal bike crashes, while there were two fatalities during the same period last year, he said.
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