Updated Nov. 30, 2018
The news is heartbreaking.
There have been 15 pedestrian fatalities in our county so far this year, including several fatalities in the last few weeks – in Springfield, Centreville, McLean, Tysons and other locations. So far in 2018, there have been at least 124 pedestrian crashes, including these 15 fatalities. In 2017, there were 189 pedestrian crashes with five fatalities.
And we’re not alone. According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 there were 5,987 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 1.5 hours in traffic crashes.
Drivers need to pay attention to their speed. Most of our pedestrian fatalities are on roadways with 40 or 45 miles-per- hour speed limits (Rt. 1, Rt. 7, Rt. 236 and Rt. 29). So vehicle speeds are important.
A study by AAA showed that there was a 50 percent chance of a pedestrian suffering a fatal injury when struck at 42 miles- per-hour. That increased to a 75 percent chance when the speed of the striking vehicle increased to 50 miles-per-hour.
Keep these tips in mind while you are on the road:
According to our Police Department, it is important for pedestrians to know that they do not have right of way when they are on the curb. VA Code §46.2-924 specifically states: No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic. Once in the crosswalk, drivers are required to yield right of way to the pedestrian. However, the pedestrian needs to ensure the roadway is clear before stepping into the crosswalk.
Steps that pedestrians can take to be safer:
Get more tips on pedestrian safety from the National Highway Traffic Administration Administration:
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has designated $110 million in federal, state and county funding under direction of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to construct pedestrian improvements in high-priority areas of Fairfax County. These projects include:
- New crosswalks with pedestrian signals.
- Upgrading existing crosswalks to include pedestrian signals.
- Constructing new walkways and trails.
- Upgrading existing walkways and constructing ADA accessible curb ramps.
- Pedestrian refuge islands.
- Decreasing turn radii.
- Curb extensions and bulb-outs.
- Bus stop improvements.
- Yield to pedestrian signs.