Tucson organization compares deadly pedestrian crashes to an epidemic

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:50 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson organization is comparing distracted driving to an epidemic after 212 pedestrian crashes happened on city roads in 2021, according to the Tucson Police Department.

Police records indicate 29 of those crashes last year were deadly, compared to 30 in 2020.

In 2019, there were 259 pedestrian crashes and 36 were fatal.

Brendan Lyons, executive director of Look! Save a Life, said one life lost is too many and it’s up to drivers and pedestrians to make a change in 2022.

“A moment’s distraction can be a lifetime regret,” Lyons said. “The stark reality is, I’ve met countless families who have lost loved ones.”

Tucson police records show deadly crashes happened throughout the region in 2021. The west side and south side each had 10 deadly pedestrian crashes. Records indicate four deadly crashes on the east side and five in midtown.

Lyons said more enforcement and HAWK lights will help, but ultimately believes it will take focused drivers and pedestrians to lower the stats.

“The truth is, the National Highway Traffic Administration has come out with a study that says 94% to 96% of all motor vehicle collisions are the direct result of human error,” Lyons said. “Ultimately, safety is everyone’s responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you are a cyclist, pedestrian or motorist, pay attention to your surroundings and keep your head on a swivel.”

In 2021, Gov. Doug Ducey, signed a bipartisan effort Hands-Free Distracted Driving Bill, giving law enforcement the tools to pull over people and cite drivers for distracted driving. Lyons said the numbers show something else must be done to lower crash numbers.

“Distracted driving has become the DUI epidemic of our generation and it’s going to take a considerate effort to get those numbers down,” Lyons said.

Tucson Police Chief Chad Kasmar said one of his priorities is to lower the number of traffic-related deaths in 2022.

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