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Getting Across The Street

Pedestrian Deaths Increasing In Northwest Arkansas

Posted: November 3, 2013 at 5 a.m.

A pair of pedestrians dart across Thompson Street Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 just north of Backus Avenue in Springdale. Many pedestrians jaywalk across the busy highway to get to and from a shopping center on the west side of the highway.

The August grass along U.S. 71B in Rogers was overgrown, and the road had no sidewalk, so Jose Villatoro-Munguia decided to walk along the roadside. His body was thrown 60 feet when a vehicle struck him near 2305 S. Eighth St.

By The Numbers

Traffic Accidents

• People 65 or older accounted for 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities nationally and had the highest fatality rate among pedestrians hit.

• Alcohol involvement for either the driver or pedestrian was reported in about 48 percent of traffic crashes where a pedestrian died.

• About 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities in crashes happened between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

• Children ages 15 years old and younger accounted for 6 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2011 and 19 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Timeline

Pedestrian Fatalities

• 8:57 a.m., Sept. 12: Rosa Malonado, 71, of Springdale, is in a crosswalk at the intersection of Thompson Street and Oak Avenue in Springdale when one vehicle strikes the rear of another vehicle, pushing the car into her.

• 9:40 p.m., Aug. 17: Jose J. Villantoro-Munguia, 32, of Rogers is struck by a vehicle as he walks down the side of South Eighth Street near Callahan Drive in Rogers. He had decided not to wait for a ride from family.

• 10:06 p.m., Aug. 1: Gilbert Flores, 34, of Fayetteville is hit by two vehicles while trying to cross North College Avenue near Shepherd Drive in Fayetteville. He had just left Hooters restaurant.

• 2:30 p.m., July 1: Gary Todd O’Neal, 52, dies 11 days after he is struck by a vehicle while trying to cross Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Sang and Lewis avenues in Fayetteville. The car that hit O’Neal sped away instead of stopping. Maurice Deshaun Evans, 22, pleaded guilty in October to leaving the scene of a death or injury and was sentenced to five years probation and 120 days in jail.

• 5:54 p.m., Nov. 22: Truman Lewis Patterson of Seligman, Mo., 74, is crossing Thompson Street near Searcy Avenue in Springdale when a vehicle hits him. He was leaving the parking lot of McDonald’s.

• 9:24 p.m., Aug. 11, 2012: Patricia “Patsy” Louise Nugent of Springdale, 60, tries to cross Thompson Street near Lakeview Drive in Springdale. A pickup ran over her after she stepped into the roadway.

Source: Fayetteville, Rogers, Bentonville and Springdale police departments, accident and incident reports for 2011-present. Bentonville reported no fatalities during the time frame.

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The pedestrian crossings in the vicinity of schools and in shopping center parking lots are where I get the most scared of people just blindly walking without looking. You can't fix stupid. These people are responsible for their own safety. If they choose not to do so, they will eventually remove themselves from the gene pool, as this lengthy article points out. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of the vehicle driver. A painted crosswalk or a green light, or a crossing guard does not guarantee safety for anyone any more than me riding my bike with the lights on and wearing a helmet. laying up in a hospital bed or in a coffin is no excuse and there ain't no reruns for "dead".

Posted by: Oldearkie

November 3, 2013 at 1:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The only places made for walking in NWA are the "trails". Unfortunately they don't go anywhere important to most people. As for drivers of vehicles texting behind the wheel is not only completely irresponsible, it is stupid. Walking while "texting" or using an I-Pod is just as dumb.

Experiment this: Drive by any of the schools in the area where hoards of "soccer moms" are lined up to pick up their kids and observe closely. More than half of them are messing with telephones or some other electronic device.

In their defense, those women are amazing multi-taskers. They can talk on the phone, manage a riot of screaming kids, pass out snacks and happy meals, find the right radio station or CD, and still drive without anyone dying most of the time. Or is it just luck?

The same holds true for any factory or large facility where a lot of workers get off at the same time. I once counted people as a "plus" on one hand=on the phone, and "minus" on the other = not, as they were leaving the Tyson World HQ at about 5:05 p.m. on a weekday. I kept score for about 100 cars and the final score was well past 50 on the "plus" side, so more than half of them had a phone glued to the side of their head.

I have been lucky and not been involved in any traffic accident in years. That is an accomplishment as I do most of my "driving" on a Harley. The secret to avoiding bad drivers is not to see the cars around you, but to focus on what the idiot behind the wheel is up to. See a phone, give a wide berth, and treat that driver as an idiot that if they haven't done something really stupid, they are about to.

Posted by: jeffieboy

November 3, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

jeffieboy-- Thank you for an excellent comment. I commented elsewhere about the slimness of "the expectation that you will ever post an opinion that has a firm basis in reality." I must amend my comment to "the expectation that you will ever post a political opinion that has a firm basis in reality."

Posted by: AlphaCat

November 3, 2013 at 1:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Politicians of every flavor are exactly like drivers using cell phones. If they haven't created a disaster or done something really stupid you can count on the fact that they are about to.

Posted by: jeffieboy

November 3, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Years ago when I visited Mexico City--where the pedestrian does NOT have the right of way--big wide streets had little grassy islands in the middle so that a pedestrian could get to a refuge halfway across the street.
The roadway in the accompanying picture is terribly wide but if I were a pedestrian I'd go a few feet more to the traffic light. (Assuming that there is a special crossing signal for pedestrians up there and that they give you enough time to do more than run halfway across.)

Posted by: Coralie

November 3, 2013 at 3:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

If a cell phone is on in a moving vehicle, then there should be a device that will not allow the vehicle to be started. If a cell phone is turned on when the vehicle is moving, the vehicle should be stopped. Driving is a full-time job using all senses.

Posted by: Moneymyst

November 3, 2013 at 3:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wow, now I agree with Money.
But--that would be a government restriction, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Coralie

November 3, 2013 at 4:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "If a cell phone is on in a moving vehicle...."
That's a worthwhile approach, I think, though it could be refined. I would suggest that cell phone use could somehow be blocked if the phone is detected in use by the driver while the car is in gear, but not be blocked for passenger use. (This could be accomplished with a couple of triangulating sensors in the driver's seat.) The driver's block would not apply to 9-1-1 calls, and there would be no block on passenger use.

This would allow passengers to use the phone to assist with navigation, make needed calls, and so on, while keeping the driver's attention on his job.

Posted by: AlphaCat

November 3, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

We may disagree on the how, but can we all agree that somehow it needs to be done.

Posted by: Moneymyst

November 3, 2013 at 9:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No need to stop traffic. An "app" already exists for some "smart" phones when the GPS feature senses it is moving faster than about 5 mph it turns the phone off. Some have pushed to make it a law and failed so far. In spite of that people should just be smart about some stuff anyway.

Take care if you get in a vehicle wreck and someone decides to pursue a serious settlement if you are using a cell phone at the time. In cases where significant recovery is possible one of the first thing lawyers do is supeona cell phone records from your carrier and the "black box" in modern cars. They can damn you for sure.

Both keep very accurate records down to the 100th of a second of what is happening. They compare phone calls or texting records from your cell phone provider with the "black box" or computer common in most newer vehicles that indicates exact time of acceleration, application of brakes, radical maneuvers, and impacts or collisions.

Lawyers can and do present it as evidence in court and when it matches up it is hard to refute. May whatever you call your "God" help you if you are on the wrong side of that one. It makes the jury's job easy and can quickly empty your pockets or worse.

It can get worse quickly if the judge decides to charge you with a more serious crime on the spot and orders your arrest. While that is generally rare it can happen. You don't want to risk being on the wrong side of that and being charged with a serious crime that can result in some really nasty penalties...like jail time or prison.

Posted by: jeffieboy

November 3, 2013 at 9:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "An 'app' already exists for some 'smart' phones when the GPS feature senses it is moving faster than about 5 mph it turns the phone off."
That's fine for people who might absentmindedly answer the phone if it rang while they were driving, but the people who most need such a thing are least likely to use it.

I generally agree with the rest of your post.

People should be smart about drinking and driving, but they aren't. By the time they learn a lesson (and based on the the great number of repeat DWI offenders with multiple repeat offenses, most of them don't), the damage has been done. People should be smart about phoning and texting while driving. There is no right to drive, and there are ways to prevent injury and death caused by people who aren't that smart.

Posted by: AlphaCat

November 3, 2013 at 9:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )