There were 201 fatalities in St. Louis in the period 2014-2016 accounting for 7.78% of the total number of deaths on Missouri’s roads. Serious injuries reached 1,607 in the same period or 11.5% of the state’s overall figure of 13,973. Last Monday’s accident on Manchester Road and S. Big Bend Avenue that claimed the life of a pedestrian showed that there is an urgent need to make the county as safe as possible for motorists and non-motorists. St. Louis must take immediate steps to avoid accidents like that in the future.
Commercial Drivers Face Risks
Accidents can happen anytime. Fortunately, there are many choices and styles of vehicles these days and car manufacturers achieved phenomenal advances in fitting vehicles with safety technology to prevent or reduce crashes. Auto steering in evasive maneuvers, lane assist, emergency braking and safe distance control are just some of the safety technologies that can save lives.
But a high-tech vehicle is not the only thing that will prevent accidents. Drivers still have the obligation and responsibility to steer their vehicles judiciously. Truckers cause accidents because of several reasons according to The Large Truck Crash Causation Study. These include running out of their lanes with 32% of trucks involved in crashes and accidents while loss of vehicle control due to excessive speed or loads, fatigue, alcohol consumption, failure of the vehicle systems or road conditions account for 29% of all crashes.
Pedestrians Are Vulnerable Road Users
According to an International Transport Forum study, the US leads in increased traffic deaths from 2010-2016 or a 13.5% rise in the number of fatalities. The upsurge is tied to two factors: distracted driving and increased number of vehicles on the road. The statistics on pedestrian death is equally alarming and the US is ahead in this category with an increase of 39.2% during the same study period.
St. Louis can do much more to improve the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Educating drivers on safe driving, eliminating distractions, taking breaks and ensuring that vehicles are in good condition help. Pedestrians must also obey traffic rules, cross only on designated markings and keep an eye on traffic. Vision Zero Strategy, a program pioneered by Sweden to reduce traffic deaths to zero has helped countries worldwide improve their motoring stats. So far, over 24 US cities have adopted the strategy which involves improving roads, intensifying education campaigns and stricter enforcement of laws.
Vehicular injuries and deaths cost economic, social and emotional upheavals. They can be reduced drastically by ensuring that both drivers and pedestrians respect and obey traffic rules and regulations. Distractions not only apply to drivers but also to pedestrians. Apparently, the struck pedestrian on S. Big Bend did not cross the street within the markings of the crosswalk.