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As I See It

Rise in pedestrian deaths shows we need to start looking out for one another



It is clear we need to do a better job looking out for one another. That is because in Wisconsin, and across the country, pedestrian deaths are on the rise. In fact, pedestrian fatalities increased sharply last year. The Wisconsin DOT says there were 59 pedestrian fatalities in the state in 2017, up from 49 the year before. That mirrors what is happening across the country, where pedestrian deaths are also on the rise. Nearly 6000 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads each year. There are likely a number of factors, with both drivers and walkers sharing the blame. People who are intoxicated may choose to walk to get home safely, but impaired pedestrians may not be aware of their surroundings. Some are too glued to their phone or tuned out with their earbuds in. Drivers too are on the phone too much, or just refuse to yield to pedestrians, or speed through red lights. And in La Crosse, more and more people are choosing to live downtown, increasing the likelihood they will be walking rather than driving to many of their destinations. We can all do better. As drivers, we need to slow down for walkers, yield to bicyclists, put down our phones, and generally observe the rules of the road. Walkers need to pay more attention to their surroundings, and only cross in well-lit areas. We can reverse this trend of increasing pedestrian deaths, if we just do a better job looking out for one another.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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