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In Missouri, 128 pedestrians were killed and 316 were injured in 2020.

These are deaths and injuries that didn't need to occur and shouldn't have.

The top contributing factors? Failure to yield, alcohol or drug impairment, and distraction/inattention.

So we support the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety's new public awareness campaign, "Every Step Counts." The weeklong campaign starts tomorrow, focusing on drivers and pedestrians.

Just as it takes two to tango, it takes pedestrians and motorists to ensure pedestrian safety.

For drivers, the advice is: buckle up, phones down, slow down and sober up. We would add one more: pay attention. If drivers heeded these simple tips, most accidents could be avoided.

Drivers and pedestrians need to make eye contact with each other. Don't assume the other one has seen you.

If your vehicle is stranded, remain in the vehicle with your seat belt on. If you must exit a stalled vehicle alongside the roadway, do so on the opposite side of traffic and do not attempt to walk across the oncoming traffic.

For walkers, the coalition offers these safety tips:

Only cross at an intersection or crosswalk. Stepping out from between parked cars or other obstacles by the road can keep a driver from being able to see you and stop in time.

Look left, right and then left again before crossing an intersection or crosswalk. Always double-check the lane you'll be entering first.

Be aware of drivers even when you are in a designated crosswalk. Drivers can look and use their mirrors, but there are always blind spots.

Avoid walking while wearing headphones or earbuds. You won't be able to hear if a car is coming.

Wear brightly colored clothing for visibility when exercising along roads.

Walk against the flow of traffic rather than with the traffic.

Be cautious when exiting parking lots and be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Put your cellphone down and don't look at it when driving or walking. Stay alert to all the challenges of the road.

Let's work together to protect each other. Many of the above tips seem like common sense, but they go unheeded year after year. If we all heeded them, we could all but eliminate pedestrian-vehicle wrecks.

News Tribune

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