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One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Deadly crashes are up 36 percent in two years and 13 to 20 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians. KGUN 9 is committed to making our roads a safer place to travel on foot, on bikes, and in our vehicles and we welcome your input. Send your issues and concerns about the safety of our roadways to saferoads@kgun9.com or call 520-290-7690.

Drivers endanger wheelchair users

Operation Safe Roads

TUCSON, Ariz. - KGUN9's Operation Safe Roads is dedicated to keeping you safe when your wheels hit the pavement.  But here’s the perspective of a man who hits the road with a different set of wheels.
      
It's not easy rolling through the world in a wheelchair.  Stan McKann says drivers aren't making it any easier.

"I don't think drivers pay attention to not just me but anybody other than themselves."
        
He worries about drivers who carelessly invade the crosswalk he needs, or who rush for a right on red without really pausing to see if anyone's there.

“Well if I'm not paying attention and that walk signal goes on and I start to go out I stand a chance of being hit because that car wants to be here in there.”
        
It's a danger to any pedestrian, but worse for someone in a wheelchair because they sit lower and are harder to see.

"If the police officer were to drive by and see that and pull them over and give them tickets that would stop.”
        
Tucson Police Officer Ray Smith says those stop bars are for the safety of people in the crosswalk and drivers need to respect them.

"We do have officers and motor units out there they're trying to hit these stops hard and you can't be everywhere at once. So we just want people to understand you know, come to a complete stop and the responsibility doesn't just fall on the driver actually falls on the person crossing as well you want to get eye contact with the person who's coming to a stop you don't want to do something arbitrarily walk out into traffic."

Some parts of Tucson have no sidewalks at all. Other parts do have sidewalks but the sidewalks are so rough wheelchairs just can't handle them. So that drives the people in wheelchairs out into the street.
      
Stan McKann says he may detour even the bump crossing the median because each bump causes a lot of pain.

"For me, and I'm sure others,  I can't be the only one, each ka-thump is an ouch, ouch, ouch."
        
And while Stan McKann would welcome smoother sidewalks the real life-saver would be for drivers for pay more attention and more tickets for drivers who don't.
 

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