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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, March 30, 2023


April 5, 2004 — While pedestrian fatalities in the territory have decreased markedly in recent years, three persons have lost their lives so far in traffic accidents this fiscal year, leaving the Police Department and the Office of Highway Safety concerned.
During the past five months, three individuals lost their lives to auto/pedestrian accidents, and several others were injured, according to a news release sent out by the Police Department.
"We must all develop a consciousness and an awareness of this problem, and as we drive and walk the streets of our communities, we must all contribute to the prevention of injuries and death resulting from auto-pedestrian accidents," Police Commissioner Elton Lewis stated in the release.
Babara McIntosh, director of the Office of Highway Safety (OHS), said Friday that the department has taken steps to educate parents and students on the importance of following pedestrian laws.
At the Agricultural Fair and other such events, pamphlets, brochures and reflectors are handed out to individuals, McIntosh added.
"We urge the parents to use them," McIntosh said. "We're stepping out our efforts because we see this becoming a problem."
Now that spring is here and students are leaving home for school while it's still dark, McIntosh says her office is encouraging students all the more to use reflectors on their backpacks.
According to data provided by OHS, three individuals died as a result of auto/pedestrian accidents in fiscal year 2002. This was down from a high of 10 deaths in FY 2001. In FY 2003 two deaths occurred.
The V.I. Municipal Code stipulates that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks. Vehicles approaching crosswalks are required to slow down if there is anyone waiting to cross the street. Pedestrians are required to use "due care" when crossing in areas without a crosswalk.
Here are some tips provided by the Police Department to help prevent auto/pedestrian accidents:
– When walking at night, make sure you can be seen. Wear reflective, bright or light-colored clothing.
– Walk facing the traffic.
– Many of the territory's streets do not have sidewalks. Drivers, slow down when you see a pedestrian.
– The territory's roads have many curves preventing visibility of both drivers and pedestrians. Both drivers and pedestrians must exercise caution when approaching these areas.
– Alcohol impairs the judgment of pedestrians just as it does drivers. Drinking alcohol and walking or driving does not mix.
– Cross streets at crosswalks, signals or corners.
– Make eye contact with drivers before crossing; make sure the driver sees you.
– Avoid walking in poorly lit areas. See and be seen.
– Obey all traffic signs and signals.
The Office of Highway Safety will conduct a community awareness fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Sunny Isle Shopping Center.

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