Two people were hit by cars in Salt Lake County Wednesday, leaving one dead and one injured.
The fatal crash was in South Salt Lake just before 5:30 a.m. this morning, causing traffic slowdowns for hours. Utah Highway Patrol troopers say a man in his sixties was crossing the road when a driver hit him.
“Coupling that crash with several other pedestrian crashes we’ve had in the last little bit and the increase in pedestrian fatalities we’ve seen in a little bit is a trend that is alarming. We want to make sure people know and are aware, drivers and pedestrians, and we can work together,” said Sgt. Cameron Roden with UHP.
Sgt. Roden says this crash is just one of four auto-pedestrian accidents that UHP responded to in the last 24 hours. The accident happened while it was still dark outside, just before 5:30 a.m.
“He stated he just didn’t see the pedestrian in the area,” said Sgt. Roden.
This just after another crash at 4:15 a.m. where a 15-year-old girl was hit around 2100 north and the I-215 west offramp.
“The 15-year-old girl that was hit did sustain serious injuries and was transported to the hospital,” Sgt. Roden said.
He says these two crashes are part of a troubling trend.
“Make a difference this year, especially with a year that we are on pace to set a new record, a record we don’t want to have stand, of the number of people killed. Those are lives, those are people, those are families that are affected by those fatalities,” he said.
Roden says in the last seven years, the yearly average for pedestrian fatalities was 39. But just this year – there have already been 29. At this time in 2021, there had been 18 and in 2020, 11 pedestrian fatalities. For the whole year, 2021 saw 45 and in 2020, 36.
“Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility. It’s the responsibility of those that are walking, who are out in public, who will be mixing with vehicles, it’s the responsibility of drivers. Drivers really need to be watching out for pedestrians,” said Kristen Hoschouer, program manager with Zero Fatalities.
She says for pedestrians to stay safe, it’s important they walk at designated areas, wear reflective clothing when it’s dark and make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
And for drivers, to always think about what you’re doing behind the wheel.
“Driving is the most dangerous thing you can do, give it some respect, make sure it’s the only thing you are doing, that your phone is not there, that you’re not impaired, that you’ve had enough sleep, that you’re driving speed limit and you’re really just watching out for your surroundings,” she said.
UHP says both drivers were cooperative and UHP is still looking into what could’ve lead to these accidents.