Pedestrian vs. Vehicle Accidents

Looking both ways before you cross the street is something many of us were taught as children. But in downtown Billings, some feel they have to be extra cautious. Pedestrian versus vehicle collisions are not all that uncommon in Montana.

"I actually feel pretty safe. I mean, it's pretty busy traffic but I think if you're paying attention and you kind of need to look just because it says walk you just can't assume," says Jamie Carahasen who works in downtown Billings.

Many feel relatively safe crossing streets in downtown, but say it's the drivers who need to pay more attention.

"You often see people texting still, since we have that law. No cell phones or texting. So that's who I see the problem with when I walking to go to lunch," says Craig Hunter of Billings.

Even with all the tools at crosswalks including countdown timers, lights, and curb extensions, City Traffic Engineer, Terry Smith, says everyone needs more education.

"Continuing to preach this method of awareness I think has more potential payback than devices that we would add," says Smith.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, one pedestrian is killed every two hours, and one is injured every eight minutes in traffic related crashes.

"People run a lot of red lights in Billings, I've noticed. It's like a game almost to people here," says Nick Hafla of Billings.

But it's not just the drivers who are to blame.

"Just because you have that walk light in front of you as a pedestrian doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a quick glance both ways," says Smith.

Andrew Baker of Billings says "just kind of like being a defensive driver, you have to look both ways before you cross the street when you walk."

From January to July of 2012, Billings Police Department reported 30 pedestrian versus vehicle accidents, and only 15 from January to July of this year. While statistics show the numbers are down, people getting hit by vehicles is still a problem.

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