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Nearly 40 pedestrians killed on Phoenix streets in 4 months

During the first four months this year, 39 pedestrians in Phoenix have died after being hit by vehicles. New data presented by the Police Department on Wednesday show the number of collisions involving pedestrians increased 7% between January and April compared to the same time last year.

In 87% of the fatalities, police say pedestrians were either crossing against the light at an intersection, or more commonly, crossing mid-block, walking, standing or laying in the street.

Councilman Jim Waring called it discouraging, “And obviously, it's also not just horrible for the families and the actual pedestrians who are hurt or killed, but it's also horrible for the driver who, it sounds like, is basically blameless, and has to carry that around for the rest of their life.

The Police Department plans to launch a public awareness campaign to highlight pedestrian safety. Councilwoman Ann O’Brien said it needs to target pedestrians.

“It's important that our drivers drive safely and drive within the speed limit and follow traffic laws. But we need folks to cross at appropriate crosswalks,” she said.

The Police Department’s presentation to the council on Wednesday showed that overall traffic injuries and deaths were down about 3% compared to the same time last year.

The department also shared a new speed enforcement program to address highest risk areas using crash data. Among the first locations, a radar trailer clocked a driver going nearly 100 miles per hour on Tatum Boulevard and 120 mph on Indian School Road.

According to a City Council report, the program will address areas in each precinct lasting four weeks:

  • Week 1: Radar Trailer
  • Week 2: Motor Enforcement
  • Week 3: Patrol Enforcement
  • Week 4: Radar Trailer

“The first week of radar trailer deployment will capture data such as total number of vehicles, vehicles under or over the speed limit, vehicles over the excessive speed threshold, average speed and record the highest speed detected. During the following two weeks, the Traffic Unit and Patrol will provide enforcement efforts in the target area where they will provide education and issue warnings and citations. The program will wrap up with another week of radar trailer deployment to capture data to show if the enforcement improved speeding issues within the target area.”

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.