Pedestrian deaths rising nationwide and in Texas, a growing prob

Pedestrian deaths rising nationwide and in Texas, a growing problem on college campuses

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

According to a 2016 report from the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly six thousand pedestrians died on U.S. roads.

That is 16 per day.

In Texas, 672 pedestrians died from being struck in traffic, which is more than ten percent of these fatalities nationwide.

Stacy Stockard, with Transportation and Parking Services at Texas Tech, said pedestrian safety is a problem on campus, and education is key. 

"We try to educate them wherever we can, you know starting from Red Raider Orientation and print collateral, and just figuring out ways we can get that message out there so they're safe," Stockard said.

Nationally, the report showed the pedestrian death-rate has grown over the last decade, despite total fatalities decreasing.

Stockard said cell phone use may be tied to it, especially with students.

"It is important when you are crossing streets, especially in parking lots too, to put that phone down and pay attention to your surroundings," Stockard said.

The National Safety Council reported parking lots are riskier than people think, leading to thousands of pedestrian injuries, mostly due to cell phone distraction. 

"Parking lots can be a place for incidents that I think people don't really realize, and it's because sometimes you have a false sense of security. Because vehicles are typically slower in a parking lot, and so, just like you would on a road, keep your eyes up, look for vehicles that have their lights on, reverse lights on, brake lights on, and just stay aware," Stockard said.

As a result, Stockard said Tech is doing all it can to provide available transportation so these pedestrian crashes can be avoided. 

"Our top priorities here are safety for those on campus. Making sure that our students, employees, and visitors have safe, reliable transportation to get from point A to point B, and anything we can do to further that, we definitely want to do," Stockard said.

Lubbock police reported five people died out of 63 pedestrian traffic incidents, so far this year.

The 2016 NTSB report also showed Texas is one of the ten worst states in pedestrian-death rate, increasing each year since 2007.

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