17 of the 159 pedestrian-vehicle collision reported by the end of October this year were in the Grande Prairie region. That’s the second highest number for any RCMP region in the province, second only to Red Deer, which has a population more than 30 per cent higher. Cities like Edmonton and Calgary with their own police service aren’t included.
While drivers are often considered to be at fault, Constable Michael Hibbs says people out walking also have to be responsible, especially when it comes to using their cell phones.
“I’m thinking it’s a contributing factor, to the point that we are advising people both in vehicles and walking to stay away from their cell phones. Ear buds are a bad thing too, because even though you have the right of way and the motorists do stop for you, the ear buds limit your hearing so you might not hear the other vehicle that’s approaching that’s not going to stop for you.”
By the end of October 155 pedestrians were hurt in Alberta crashes, and another four died. Two collisions were reported in Beaverlodge, one in Fairview, and one in Fox Creek. Constable Hibbs can’t say why the risk here is greater, but he says the numbers are concerning.
“We need to figure out what’s going wrong there. Motorists have to be vigilant; they have to be familiar with their surroundings, they have to stop at every stop and crosswalk if somebody is waiting to cross. Stay away from your phones and don’t be impaired when you drive as well.”
While drunk driving is a well known issue, almost 40 per cent of pedestrians killed in 2008 who were tested for alcohol had also been drinking.