Vehicle Vs. Pedestrian Accidents on an Alarming Increase - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Vehicle Vs. Pedestrian Accidents on an Alarming Increase

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It's hard to remember when crossing the street has been so deadly. In his 22 years with the Sparks Police Department, Lt. Chad Hawkins has seen it happen again and again…too many times to count. "Yeah, it seems like our pedestrian-involved accidents have been going up. We're not sure what the cause of that is, but it does seem to be trending up."

There were 47 pedestrian deaths in Nevada last year. This year, we're sadly following that deadly timeline with 45 fatalities so far…up 35% from a year ago. In Washoe County, 7 pedestrian deaths in 2011, 7 so far this year. According to the "Transportation for America 2011" report, Nevada ranks 7th in pedestrian fatalities, 5th for those 65 & older. That's 4.53 deaths per 100,000, where the national average is only 2.92 per 100,000.

And now, shorter days with less daylight are bringing back a seasonal danger. Lt. Hawkins told us, "A lot of people, by the time they get off its dark, or when they're walking to work in the morning its dark also."

But as we found at the crosswalk at 7th and Virginia in Reno, even crossing the street in bright daylight can be a dicey proposition. John and Linda Williams live by that corner, and they have many stories. Linda told us, "One guy just stopped like really quick and he came and almost hit us." As John put it, "These people are on cell phones, they look you right in the eye and whoosh, go right by."

John says a near miss at that crosswalk is an everyday occurrence. He's lived in Reno since 1958, and was once a highway patrolman. He says drivers have changed over the years. "The driving habits here are aggressive, there's a lot of speed. People just don't care. They point their car in their direction, they get in their own little world. I get the feeling they just don't care."

After our interview, we watched as a truck failed to yield to them at the crosswalk.

Back in Sparks, Lt. Hawkins says when it comes to blame for these accidents, the fault evens out at 50/50. "Half the time it's a pedestrian and the other times it's the driver's inattention." But in every case, the pedestrians have more to lose.

-written by John Potter

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