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Auto Ped Accidents in Provo on the Rise

Auto Ped Accidents in Provo on the Rise



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Sam Penrod Reporting The latest involved a man hit and critically injured Tuesday night. In that case, police say the driver was distracted.

Last year in Provo, we found there were 36 auto pedestrian accidents. And already this year, four people have been hit. So we went to police for some answers. They say while drivers are responsible for stopping at a crosswalk, people in those crosswalks can do a lot to protect themselves, too.

Every day in Provo, students have to cross University Avenue right here. It's a total of six lanes of traffic in an area with no stoplight. Students we talked to believe most drivers aren't paying any attention to those trying to use the crosswalk.

Heber Nelson, Student Pedestrian: "This is a crosswalk; they are required to stop. I don't feel like I should have to wait for them to drive by. I mean, I'm the pedestrian, and I have the right of way, so if they don't stop, I'll keep waiting, I don't really have a choice."

Many students describe a close call while crossing.

Bill Prisbery, Student Pedestrian: "The pedestrians are playing a game: How far can I go and will they really stop?"

Orange flags are available, which we found some students ignore, while others hold to them for dear life.

Andi Nebeker, Student Pedestrian: "If you have a flag and wave it around, but I wait until both lights are red so there are no cars coming."

Auto Ped Accidents in Provo on the Rise

But just as drivers can be distracted, so can pedestrians who are eating, listening to music or talking on a cell phone while crossing a busy street.

The law says that drivers have the obligation to stop for anyone in the crosswalk, regardless of which side of the road they are on. But police caution that those crossing the street need to protect themselves.

Lt. Cliff Argyle, Provo Police Dept.: "There is some responsibility for the pedestrian to make sure a car sees them before stepping into the crosswalk. You may be in between two white lines, but that's all it is -- two white lines. You may have the right of way, but you can also be dead right if you walk out there in front of a vehicle, because the vehicle is going to win."

One of the auto-pedestrian accidents this year in Provo involved an on-duty Provo police officer who hit a man. That case is still under investigation.

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