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Hopkins Researchers Work To Lower Pedestrian Deaths

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Every year, thousands of people die while simply crossing the street. Researchers at Hopkins are now trying to stop pedestrian deaths.

Monique Griego has more on the new campaign.

The study looked at how we can cut down on pedestrian deaths–and who was mostly to blame may surprise you.

Every single day on the streets of Maryland, a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle.

Jessica Oppenheimer’s friend learned that the hard way.

“The first thing that happened to her was she got hit. She got hit in a pedestrian crosswalk. She had the right of way but didn’t look,” Oppenheimer said.

One distracted moment by a pedestrian or driver can have deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Maryland, 100 people are killed in pedestrian accidents. Nationwide, that number jumps to 4,500.

“It can be dangerous at times because a lot of times, you don’t see them,” said driver Frank Green.

In an effort to increase pedestrian safety, Johns Hopkins injury researchers are pushing a new campaign.

“We need to stop, wait, go slow, be alert and don’t get hurt,” said Hopkins researcher Andrea Gielen.

On average each year in Baltimore City, 700 people are hit by vehicles every year.

Researchers pulled from a variety of sources to determine a list of simple precautions that could save lives.

“We did an online survey of almost 4,000 people. We did focus groups. We talked to experts,” said Gielen.

When it comes to who’s more at fault, evidence showed drivers and pedestrians were equally responsible. Most people WJZ talked to agreed, saying they’ve seen risky behavior on both sides.

“I don’t necessarily obey all the traffic laws myself. I’m a frequent jaywalker,” said Oppenheimer.

“It’s the pedestrian’s fault and the driver’s fault,” Green said.

Hopkins is now hoping this campaign helps drive home an important message.

The online study also found four out of 10 people say they’ve either been hit or almost hit by a vehicle.

The campaign and research were funded by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office and Johns Hopkins University.

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