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Pedestrian deaths surge in Tucson

10 pedestrian deaths already
Posted at 7:30 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-10 22:30:52-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) It's only April -- but in Tucson -- pedestrian deaths are already five times higher than they were -- for all of last year

The city works to improve pedestrian safety -- but pedestrians and drivers don't do all they can to stay safe.

A lot of pedestrians press their luck. Some pay with their lives.

The City of Tucson had two pedestrian deaths in all of 2016.  

Barely four months into this year ten pedestrians have been killed on Tucson's streets.  The latest in a hit and run.

It was about 7:30 Saturday night Sixth Avenue just north of Ohio Street.  A man was crossing from west side of the street to the east.  He nearly made it.  He was in the curb lane when a blue Acura hit him.  The driver of that car stopped to help but then another car, a white sedan hit that man and kept moving.

Arizona ranks third in pedestrian deaths according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association.  In the first half of 2016 Arizona had 1.4 deaths per hundred thousand population.  Only Delaware and Florida had higher pedestrian death rates.

Tucson puts a lot of effort into protecting pedestrians.  It pioneered the use of HAWK lights to stop traffic for safe crossings.

But many pedestrians ignore safe crossings just a few steps away.

Nationwide, 72 percent of pedestrians killed were not in crosswalks when they were hit.

As she waits for the bus Pamela Jackson has a chance to see plenty of pedestrians risk their lives.

"I've seen people almost get hit by cars and stuff like that and I'm like, wow, I've seen things happen."

Safety experts think drivers and pedestrians with their eyes and minds on their smart phones are part of the problem---pushing up pedestrians deaths nationwide at a time when other traffic deaths have been falling.