3:54 pm - Saturday September 23, 2017

Believe It or Not, Awkward Eye Contact Saves Lives

 Of the 1,433 pedestrian-related crashes and fatalities in Colorado last year, approximately 60% of drivers were at fault, leaving pedestrians at fault 40% of the time; a statistical reminder that everyone on the road can help prevent pedestrian-related crashes. This week, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announces a pedestrian safety campaign targeted at both drivers and pedestrians. The campaign employs the tagline “Awkward Eye Contact Saves Lives – Heads Up At Crosswalks” and incorporates media placements around the state where awkward eye contact tends to occur, i.e. bathroom stalls.

With the majority of pedestrian-related crashes occurring between October and March, spiking in October and January, the timing of this campaign appropriately lands just before daylight savings blankets the streets during the fall and winter seasons. Even still, Monday through Friday marks the height of occurrences with nearly 80% of crashes falling within the work/school week, in line with the recent back to school crunch.

“We’re seeing far too many preventable pedestrian-related crashes and even fatalities on the road,” said Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director. “The simple act of making eye contact at intersections and crosswalks could reverse this growing problem, in turn saving lives.”

Upon analyzing the 2013 pedestrian crash and fatality data, Ford notes that approximately 20% of crashes were caused by pedestrians entering the roadway without a crosswalk present, while nearly 38% occurred at the site of a crosswalk, further emphasizing the need for both pedestrians and drivers alike to be aware of their surroundings, adhere to traffic signals, and to make eye contact with each other.

The campaign launched this week and will run through the month of September in Denver and Colorado Springs. Denver topped the 2013 findings with 30% of all incidents occurring within city limits. Both markets will feature bus tails, bus shelters, radio spots, digital banner takeovers and the ironic bathroom poster. For pedestrian safety tips, please visit http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/bikeped/information-for-pedestrians.

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