HOUSTON — New data from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian traffic fatalities in the United States last year– the highest in 25 years.
Lt. Shy Reece with the Houston Police Department said distracted walking and distracted driving are to blame.
“Frankly the number of fatalities have increased as a result of people texting while walking and texting while driving. In the state of Texas, texting while driving is illegal and yes you’ll get a citation. But even worse, you could hurt yourself or somebody else,” Reece said.
The data also said Harris County and Dallas County ranked 3rd and 4th in highest in the country for most number of pedestrian fatalities.
In fact, on Tuesday, a Houston couple was crossing a street with their baby in a stroller when they were struck by a car. The crash sent the 1-year-old to the hospital in critical condition.
Investigators said the driver had the right of way and was not under the influence.
“A vehicle went through the intersection just after 1 a.m. and struck the stroller, throwing the child out. After further investigation, evidence shows that the vehicle had a green light and that the pedestrians were crossing against the traffic signal,” HPD’s Lt. Larry Crowson said.
To curb these numbers, police said both drivers and pedestrians have to take responsibility.
“My best advice is for everyone to take a common sense approach. Put your phones away and pay attention to your surroundings,” Reece said.