EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As the number of fatalities involving pedestrians continue to rise across the city, TxDOT El Paso is making sure those behind the wheel and those crossing the road are aware of their surroundings at all costs.
“A lot of times we get caught up in the fact that we expect the driver to see us or for us to have the right of way no matter what and that is simply not the case. We have to be at a cross walk, we have to be aware of our surroundings,” Monica O’Kane, Traffic Safety Specialist with TxDOT EP shared.
Some safety examples for pedestrians include always using crosswalks, avoid any distractions, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
“We don’t want to take it for granted that you expect that car to stop because a lot of times they might be distracted, they might have something going on in their mind that they’re not cognizant of, and we need to make sure that they make that eye contact so that person did see them.”
As for drivers – reducing your speed, obeying the speed limit, and staying alert on the road avoiding distractions as well.
“You want to make sure that you yield the right of way to the pedestrian should they be using the crosswalk. We shouldn’t be in much of a hurry of course not to give them that right of passage into the street and through the street,” O’Kane said.
TxDOT EP officials said there were 20 pedestrian fatalities this time last year in El Paso, and so far we’ve seen the same number this year.
Officials also said its important to educate one another, especially children when it comes to staying safe out on the road.
“We need to make sure that we educate our children and teach them how to cross the street, for them to look left right and left again,” O’Kane shared, “For them to realize that the vehicle is closer than they think it is and if they see a vehicle, especially for young children, to go ahead and wait before they cross the street.”
TxDOT EP is partnering with the El Paso Police Department, El Paso Electric, and the Socorro Independent School District to launch a “Pedestrian Safety” campaign next Thursday at O’shea Keleher Elementary school.