ERLANGER, Ky. — An alarming number of young people who were recently struck by vehicles while crossing streets in Erlanger have city officials and first responders urging pedestrians to be cautious and motorists to remain alert.
Since October of last year, two teenagers and a nine-year-old child have been hit by cars with two sustaining injuries.
In all three incidents, the operators of the vehicles were not contributing factors in the collisions, according to Erlanger Police Department Patrolman Charlie Loudermilk.
Mayor Jessica Fette stressed that children as well as their parents must know how to safely cross a street.
“We need to bring this alarming situation up to parents, so they know how important it is to teach their young children and even their teenagers how to properly and safely cross a street,” Mayor Fette said. “With three incidents in just the past few months, it is clear the guidelines for crossing streets are not being followed. And that creates very dangerous situation that could be avoided.”
“Talk with your children in regard to crossing the street at designated intersections, and following the pedestrian control device,” advises Patrolman Loudermilk. “This will reduce the chances of being struck and will not make them liable for damages in the event of a collision.”
Distractions caused by talking and texting on cell phones and listening to headphones are major contributors to accidents, not only for motorists but pedestrians as well, said Erlanger Fire Chief Todd Whitaker.
“Many drivers continue to text while driving, or at minimum continue to talk on their cell phone while driving, and you have the major contributing factors as to the cause,” he said.
Briefly, here is what occurred in each recent incident according to Patrolman Loudermilk.
Incident one, Oct. 16, 3 p.m.
A young child was attempting to cross the street, not at a crosswalk, on Stevenson Road, a busy thoroughfare that connects Dixie Highway and Turkeyfoot Road. The child was struck by a vehicle that was traveling east at or slightly above the speed limit, and the child ran out from behind a line of vehicles stopped in the westbound traffic lanes. The child was airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Incident two, Jan. 29, 6 p.m.
A young female was attempting to cross Stevenson Road at the intersection of Dixie Highway. According to witnesses, she darted into the intersection against the control device and the driver of the vehicle was going through the intersection while having a green light. The female sustained a head injury and was transported by Erlanger EMS to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Incident three, Feb. 6, 2:30 p.m.
A young female attempted to ride her scooter across Dixie Highway not at a crosswalk. A vehicle stopped as she began to enter in front of it and once the vehicle stopped the female continued to try and cross the street. At this point a vehicle traveling south struck the female on the scooter. The female sustained minor injuries to her leg and was transported to St Elizabeth Medical Center Hospital by Erlanger EMS.
Following are tips to Erlanger residents from Chief Whitaker and Patrolman Loudermilk for safely crossing streets.
- As it pertains to motorist behind the wheel, they have to be always scanning the roadway in front of them and asking themselves one question as they are driving. What if? If they ask questions as they are driving, such as what if a child runs into the street, what if a car changes lanes too quickly? A driver can reduce their reaction times tremendously if they continuously ask those questions as they drive.
- The old adage of “look both ways before crossing the street” rings true today more than ever.
- Before crossing the street, put your phone away; you’re not going to miss anything in the 15 to 20 seconds it takes to cross the street.
- Remove headphones to ensure that you have the ability to hear car horns, screeching tires, or any warning/alert type sounds.
- For drivers, slow down. We’re all guilty of speeding, running late, being in a hurry, but please, lower your speed especially around known pedestrian zones, school zones, intersections and crosswalks.
- These are simple tips, but they can save your life.