Utah (ABC4 News) — Zero Fatalities Utah is donating 3,500 reflective drawstring backpacks to homeless service providers throughout Salt Lake County this week.
The backpacks are from the Utah Department of Transportation, UDOT, and Utah Department of Public Safety, DPS. The backpacks are being provided in efforts to help people who are experiencing homelessness stay visible to drivers during the fall, which is typically the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians, according to officials.
“Every day we look for ways we can make Utah’s roads safer,” said Kristen Hoschouer, UDOT safety outreach administrator. “Wearing reflective gear is essential, especially as we are entering a challenging time of year when it’s hard to be seen at night.”
According to UDT and DPS, on average, 4.42 pedestrians are killed each month during the fall on Utah roads, a 47% increase from the average during the rest of the year. And in typical years, there is a significant increase in the number of pedestrians during the fall, with school back in session.
During the fall, days become shorter and much of the morning and evening commutes take place in low-light or in the dark.
Zero Fatalities offers the following tips to help pedestrians be safe and seen this fall:
- Use sidewalks or the shoulder of the road (if no sidewalk is available) when you’re walking or running.
- If no sidewalk is available, walk or run on the left side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.
- Make sure you have lights or reflective clothing if you walk or run in the dark.
- Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross in marked crosswalks or at intersections if no crosswalk is available.