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The crosswalk commandments

UTEP+has+had+reports+of+pedestrian+incidents+in+the+last+six+months.
Jose G. Saldana
UTEP has had reports of pedestrian incidents in the last six months.

UTEP deems itself as a pedestrian-friendly campus due to renovations to make the campus more environmentally sustainable and ADA accessible according to UTEP’s center for environmental resource management. From heading to class, grabbing lunch, to going home, UTEP students have their fair share of walking on and around campus, so, it is important to know the dos and don’ts of crosswalk safety in the bustling streets of El Paso.  

Vision Zero, an action plan by the city of El Paso to decrease traffic crashes and fatalities shared that through 2016 to 2020, El Paso was ranked as the 18th worst metro area for pedestrian fatalities in the U.S.  

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released a pedestrian safety action plan for the El Paso district stating that from 2017-2021 there have been 1,000 pedestrian crashes resulting in 124 pedestrian fatalities and 151 serious injuries.  

There have also been several instances of pedestrian accidents near the UTEP campus. On Oct. 16, 2023, KTSM reported that one person was killed after trying to cross I-10 near UTEP late at night and was hit by a semi-truck. El Paso Times reported a similar case in 2021 when a man also ran through I-10 in the UTEP area and was struck and killed by a vehicle.  

In 2018, CBS4 reported that three UTEP students had been involved in a hit-and-run accident, the students were hit near Prospect Street and Schuster Avenue. UTEP officials also shared that this incident was connected to another pedestrian crash near University Avenue and Oregon Street. Police pursued the vehicle and took the driver into custody, and none of the victims received life-threatening injuries.  

Police officials say pedestrians and drivers have rules they must abide by to stay safe. Pedestrians are told to look both ways before crossing the street and while that is an important rule to follow there are many more that the TxDOT lays out that decreases the risk of getting hit.  

Use crosswalks 

Although sometimes there is not a crosswalk, or it may be more convenient to cross the street at a different point, crosswalks are there to protect pedestrians and serve as a signal for drivers to be cautious in those areas. If a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking it could mean that the driver is not liable for any injury. If there is no crosswalk, try and look for one further up or down the street, while it may take time, it helps ensure safety.  

“I have seen people just walk in the middle of the road randomly and almost get hit,” said UTEP student Natalie Delgado. “Even if we are on campus, just use the crosswalks because most drivers know where they are and that’s where they are looking out for people walking.” 

Obstacles and obstructed view 

While walking or driving there may be large vehicles that obstruct a clear view of the road. Both drivers and pedestrians should be cautious if their view is obstructed, drivers should slow down, yield, or stop if necessary and pedestrians should wait till they can get a clear view of their path.  

Avoid walking in low visibility 

Pedestrians should avoid walking during nighttime or weather conditions like fog that make it harder for drivers to see. According to TxDOT, 46% of pedestrian crashes happen in low visibility and low light conditions. If pedestrians need to walk during these situations, it is better to find a well-lit area with crosswalks and sidewalks. 

Be attentive and do not assume 

Drivers and pedestrians should both be aware of their surroundings. Phones and other distractions should be put away when walking and driving as 16% of accidents happen because either the driver or pedestrian was distracted. Drivers should always stop for pedestrians and stop and yield for pedestrians when turning, obey speed limits and slow down when approaching crosswalks. Pedestrians should yield to vehicles, do not assume traffic will stop for pedestrians, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road, 23% of pedestrian crashes happen due to pedestrians not yielding for vehicles.  

“It’s easy to get distracted with my phone or with my music but when I know I’m about to cross the road I put it away,” said UTEP student Juilo Garcia. “I’ve seen a couple people almost walk straight into traffic because they’re on their phone and I have also seen drivers on their phone and almost hit someone.” 

It is better to be safe than sorry and by following these rules, pedestrians and drivers can minimize their risk of getting into an accident. While obeying these rules may seem inconvenient, these dos and don’ts can be the defining moments between life and death.  

Ximena Cordero is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Ximena Cordero
Ximena Cordero, Staff Reporter
Ximena Cordero is a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is a staff reporter at The Prospector. She is majoring in communications and deciding between a minor in creative writing or English literature. After graduating, she would like to pursue a master's degree, work as a journalist or communication specialist, and maybe even write her own books. She wants a career that will allow her to explore the world and see new perspectives and cultures.
Jose G. Saldana
Jose G. Saldana, Contributor/Photographer
Jose G. Saldana is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production. Jose was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Jose is a contributor at The Prospector and in the future he wants to dedicate to sports photography and videography around the world.
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  • C

    CarolineMay 8, 2024 at 12:14 AM

    Not just distracted driving, but for drivers to actually STOP when the lights for the crosswalks are red. It takes a little more time to be respectful of other people. Please don’t risk my life for a few extra seconds.

    Reply
  • S

    SamApr 19, 2024 at 3:54 PM

    You know what would be an even better idea to get around campus/town? A real mass transit system. The parking lots are double the size of our campus, it’s such a joke. I’m not paying tuition to educate my car.

    Reply