D.C.'s Rate Of Pedestrian Fatalities Higher Than National Average | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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D.C.'s Rate Of Pedestrian Fatalities Higher Than National Average

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Cross with caution in the District.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/53398165@N07/5511549137
Cross with caution in the District.

Washington D.C. is among 22 cities eligible for federal funds to improve pedestrian safety, as the number of pedestrian fatalities rises across the U.S.

Pedestrians at the corner of M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE get some help crossing the street in the form of a recorded voice.

Not every intersection is as safe, of course. In fact, Washington's pedestrian fatality rate is higher than the national average — and that's why the District is eligible to apply for part of a $2 million fund for education and enforcement efforts to help make roads less dangerous for walkers and joggers.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says we are familiar with distracted driving, but distracted walking has become a serious problem, too.

"A lot of times people will be wearing their ear phones or headphones and you can get into an accident that way," Foxx says.

At least one pedestrian can relate: "[I am] guilty of it all the time. And I need to be more careful because when you walk around with your headphones, walk around with your cell phone, you are putting yourself in harm's way."

In the last year for which data is available, eight pedestrians were among the 27 people killed in traffic crash fatalities in Washington, about 30 percent of the deaths.

As many as 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are hurt every year.

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