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Careful crossing: Deadly car-pedestrian crashes on the rise in Phoenix

PHOENIX — The number of deadly accidents involving a pedestrian are up in Phoenix, the city said.

The latest numbers show 157 pedestrians were killed on Phoenix streets in 2014. That’s 28 more than 2013.

Phoenix Traffic Engineer Kerry Wilcoxon said most pedestrian were killed at night because “people are traveling faster at night,” he said.

Wilcoxon said, in addition to human error, one of the reasons for the uptick in crashes is a better economy. As more people hit the road to get to work, shop or something else, the chances for accidents go up.

Preventing crashes — or lowering the number of them — is the top priority of Wilcoxon’s department. He said the department is taking a three-pronged approach to bring the fatality numbers down: enforcement, education and engineering.

“Most of our traffic enforcement is spent out on the arterial streets, trying to slow people down,” he said. “Most of our education goes into pedestrian safety and bicycle safety: trying to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from taking risks. And making sure drivers are aware of pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Engineering efforts, Wilcoxon said, focus on slowing people down and improving infrastructure: Left-turn lanes, better traffic light timing  and a red light education program are part of the effort.

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