RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — As coronavirus cases decrease, as more people get vaccinated, and more businesses reopen, Virginians are eager to get out of the house and enjoy the summer season. As a result, more pedestrians are traveling along Virginia streets and sidewalks as they head out to enjoy the weather and the local attractions.
However, the extra foot traffic also means there is a higher chance of pedestrians being struck and possibly killed by a vehicle.
Even though there were fewer vehicles on the roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says 114 pedestrians died on the Commonwealth’s roads in 2020.
The DMV wants to decrease these pedestrian deaths and injuries by promoting safe walking and pedestrian awareness across Virginia.
To help spread a summertime safety message, the DMV has launched a campaign urging pedestrians to thoroughly check that the way is clear before crossing the street. In addition, the campaign reminds motorists to be aware of pedestrians and make sure they’ve crossed safely before driving ahead.
The motto of the campaign — which will run through Aug. 8 — is “If you don’t know, don’t go.” The campaign will run through August 8.
The campaign’s central focus is an animated public service announcement (PSA), along with ads that will run on digital and social media, local radio, and on the sides of buses throughout Virginia, especially in pedestrian-friendly cities like Roanoke.
“The goal of this campaign is to increase safety for both pedestrians and drivers and save lives on our roadways through increased awareness,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We all share the responsibility of making sure that we’re driving and walking safely. If you don’t know, don’t go.”
The DMV offers the following safety tips for pedestrians and drivers:
- Pedestrians should look both ways and make sure the way is really clear before crossing.
- Pedestrians should cross only at designated crosswalks or at corners, but never in the middle of the street.
- Pedestrians should not wear earbuds when walking or jogging. However, if you need to listen to music, only wear one earbud.
- Drivers should keep an eye out for pedestrians and make sure intersections are clear before proceeding.
- Virginia law requires drivers to stop at crosswalks and yield to pedestrians who are trying to cross.
- Drivers should remember that pedestrians may not always cross at crosswalks, so reduce speeds and expect the unexpected.
For more information about pedestrian safety, visit tzdva.org.