TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Safety on the streets is always a concern, whether you’re a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian. Tucson News Now has a look at the the number of fatal collisions in 2018, as compared to 2017, and those numbers show that there’s a continued need for emphasis on that idea of street safety.
In 2017 there were 59 total fatal collisions on Tucson’s streets. 24 were pedestrian fatalities, 14 were motorcyclist fatalities, and one was a bicyclist fatality. In 2018 however the numbers slightly increased, with the total number of fatal collisions up at 68. Of those 68, 28 were pedestrian fatalities, seven were motorcyclist fatalities, and four were bicyclist fatalities.
So why does Tucson Police say that they think these fatal collisions continue to happen year after year in Tucson? Well, there’s a handful of reasons but they say one of the main ones is distracted driving.
“It’s interesting because you talk to people that say, you know, I would never drink and drive but yet those same people get behind the wheel and they’ll text or they’re fiddling with the radio or their navigation system things like that," Sgt. Pete Dugan of Tucson Police explains. "So we want people to be aware distracted driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving or being under the influence. It really is because it takes your attention off the roadway.”
That attention off the roadway is something Dugan says that officers have seen time and time again from drivers and pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, he shared with Tucson News Now that when officers watched pedestrians in intersections around town they noticed that pedestrians would enter the street, sometimes not even in the crosswalk, while on their phone or with headphones in. As a result they’re not able to be as aware of the cars near them.
To that same coin though Dugan says they also often see drivers distracted, typically by texting but also by pets in the car or friends in the car.
One suggestion they have for pedestrians or cyclists to stay safe on the roads is to make eye contact with drivers, so you know they see you and so that they know you’re entering the roadway.