Senior pedestrian deaths in Virginia skyrocketed in 2019

Senior pedestrian deaths in Virginia skyrocketed in 2019
The number of senior pedestrian deaths in Virginia skyrocketed back in 2019. (Source: Pixabay)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The number of senior pedestrian deaths in Virginia skyrocketed back in 2019.

According to preliminary numbers from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), mature pedestrian deaths in 2019 were up 95 percent from 2018.

In 2019, 37 senior pedestrians (65 and older) died compared to 19 in 2018.

The top factor contributing to senior pedestrian fatalities was not crossing the street at an intersection, which occurs within a few miles of their homes.

Drivers are not expected to see pedestrians on the road outside of an intersection, and those drivers may be hindered by curves or other road conditions that make spotting a pedestrian more difficult.

Hollywood actor Orson Bean, 91 was struck and killed by two cars as he attempted to cross Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles. According to the police, he tried to cross the street outside of a crosswalk.

“The huge increase in senior pedestrian fatalities in Virginia is alarming. AAA reminds all seniors to cross either at intersections or clearly marked crosswalks, attempt to signal drivers or make eye contact with them before stepping onto the roadway, and to wear visible clothing when walking,” Morgan Dean, Sr. Specialist- Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, senior pedestrian deaths are more than likely to occur in densely populated areas, with 76 percent of the victims in 2019 were killed on urban roads.

AAA’s tips for being safe while walking on roads include:

  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Use a flashlight to make you more visible to vehicles in the dark. 
  • Cross at controlled crosswalks with flashing warning lights.
  • If there isn’t an intersection or crosswalk, cross the road in a well-lit area. 
  • Don’t assume a driver sees you.  Signal them and make eye contact with them before you step off the curb.  (DMV released the video “Eyes Meet to Cross Streets” to show how pedestrians can share the responsibility of making sure they are safe.)

The most common times for seniors to be struck were from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. when sight is difficult for drivers and pedestrians due to the angle of the sun.

Fairfax County had a total of six senior pedestrian deaths, which was the highest number in 2019.

Henrico County, with four deaths, came in second on the list, and Arlington County, with three deaths, came in third.

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