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Indiana pedestrian deaths hit a 10-year high

Each year, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute prepares a traffic safety report of state data for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Included in this report are the new statistics involving pedestrian fatalities. According to the numbers for 2017, there were 107 pedestrians killed, an increase of 22 over 2016, and the highest number in the past 10 years.

AAA warns pedestrians and motorists alike of the potential for these types of accidents due to alcohol and drug use. In fact, nationwide, roughly half of the pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol, and about a third of those were impaired pedestrians. Distractions such as cellphones and headphones can also compromise the focus that it takes for pedestrians to safely navigate traffic.

There are other ways for pedestrians to remain on the defensive and improve their chances of arriving to their destination unharmed. Visibility is often a factor that leads to crashes, so people on foot should wear bright colors during the day and reflective clothing at night. Inclement weather may also limit a driver's ability to see pedestrians.

Pedestrians should cross the street in areas where drivers are more likely to expect them, such as on crosswalks and at intersections. Whenever possible, pedestrians should make eye contact with drivers before stepping out into the street.

Danger areas include crosswalks where a stopped vehicle may block the view of the pedestrian from the motorist in the next lane; driveway and parking lot entrances and exits are also common places where vehicles hit pedestrians.

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