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Are Pedestrians Safe In Seattle?

Another pedestrian has been hit and killed while crossing the street in Seattle. Here's another story about a pedestrian who was hit and killed while crossing 23rd Avenue in Seattle's Central District. The pedestrian, a woman in her 20's, died Friday night (Jan. 4, 2008) while crossing the street. The accident occurred around 10 p.m. at the intersection of 23rd Avenue South and South Dearborn Street.
The woman was crossing 23rd Avenue South from east to west when a northbound vehicle on the same street struck her. Seattle fire medics rushed her to Harborview Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police officers investigating the accident.
According to a profile of pedestrian fatalities, written by the King County Health Department, pedestrians make up 20 percent of the motor-vehicle fatalities in the county. The national average is 11 percent, and the state average is 12 percent.
A 2005 study looked at the 103 pedestrian fatalities in King County between 2000 and 2003 - an average of 26 a year - to try to find trends or problem areas. Among the key findings: * One in four pedestrians killed was over 60. * The winter months are especially dangerous. * Highway 99 accounted for 10 percent of all pedestrian deaths. * Unsafe crossing practices were to blame for 42 percent of fatalities. * About half of drivers in fatal pedestrian accidents were not charged. * About 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities were on roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph or slower.
The report made 10 recommendations, including calling for a county pedestrian-safety conference. It urged police to write more tickets to pedestrians and drivers alike for violating pedestrian-safety laws. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels introduced a plan to improve pedestrian safety through public-service announcements, signs and route improvements.
Just in my office alone, I've seen an unprecedented number of cases involving pedestrian-auto accidents. Most involve very serious injuries. Some also involve the death of the pedestrian. My own experience tells me that there has been an increase in pedestrian-car accidents. Please, if you will be walking or crossing the streets while it's dark out, try to wear light clothing or reflective clothing so drivers can easily see you. Never let a child cross the street without an adult. And drivers, please slow down, especially in school zones and in areas with high pedestrian traffic.
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