A new Metro police campaign aims to educate pedestrians on the rules of the road that apply to them.
Nashville has had a number of pedestrians hit and killed by vehicles in recent months and at least three people were killed when they were struck by vehicles while riding their motorized wheelchairs.
“Drivers need to be exercising due caution all the time,” Metro police Sgt. Mark Denton told News 2. “Texting gets a lot of attention, but we are distracted in a number of ways not just texting.”
According to Sgt. Denton, in-car distractions like adjusting the radio can also contribute to wrecks.
Police remind pedestrians to be aware, be seen and arrive alive.
Pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings; cross at crosswalks, look for cars in all directions and obey traffic signs.
Pedestrians should wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night so they are easily seen. Pedestrians should never assume a driver sees them and always watch for cars entering or exiting driveways.
“Never ever assume someone sees you even if they are looking at you,” Sgt. Denton said. “I have had people looking directly at me and pull out in front of me because they were looking at the person behind me not me.”
Lastly, Metro police say pedestrians should refrain from alcohol and drugs use when walking.
In Nashville, 40% of the pedestrians who were hit were impaired in some way.
Dorothy Sterling knows first-hand the dangers of being in a wheelchair and having to travel along Nashville’s streets.
“Every day I have to get out for some reason or another and I have to use my portable motorized wheelchair because I am a below the knee left amputee,” she said. “I have had this since January and I have been almost hit three times.”
Sterling told News 2 she avoids getting out after dark because she does not have lights on her wheelchair.
“I think the motorist should understand there are more of us out here that have to do everyday things like going to the grocery store and going to the doctor,” she said. “We don’t want to be trapped in our house all the time because we are scared of getting hit by a car.”
Metro police are working with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office to provide reflective arm bands that light up for pedestrians to wear.
They are also encouraging wheelchair users to add reflective tape and a flag to their chairs.