Be safe on Oregon roads
Although Oregon’s traffic fatality rate is far below the national average, 60 pedestrians lost their lives in vehicle/pedestrian crashes in our state in 2012. Most of those deaths could have been prevented. As a traffic safety advocate, I’d like to offer some safety suggestions and encourage everyone to make traffic safety a high priority.
As drivers, we need to be alert and watch for pedestrians, especially at intersections, near shopping areas, schools and other popular destinations. Whether marked or not, under Oregon law, there is a crosswalk at every intersection. Stop and stay stopped when a pedestrian is crossing. Be especially vigilant of pedestrians in low light areas and during poor weather conditions. Drive sober and stay focused. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal; so is texting while driving. Both greatly increase the chances of being involved in a deadly or serious injury crash.
As pedestrians, we need to wear bright-colored or reflective clothing, especially when walking during the hours of pre-dawn and dusk. Drivers can’t avoid what they can’t see. If there are no sidewalks or designated pedestrian routes, walk along the edge of the road, out of the lanes of vehicle traffic. Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching vehicles and avoid being struck by a vehicle or a far-reaching bus or truck mirror. Stay sober; walking while impaired greatly increases the chance of injury. Don’t wear headphones, text or talk on a cell phone while crossing a street. It’s a pedestrian’s responsibility to stay focused and to stay out of harm’s way.
Please join me and my fellow Oregon Transportation Safety Committee members in doing what we can to reduce pedestrian fatalities. Stay alert when driving, and be an alert and visible pedestrian!
Marian M. Owens