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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Newspaper Article 8: Hispanic Pedestrians (In English, focusing on the problem with Hispanic pedestrians and what to do about it)

Anytown-Rosa Esparza has a few things to say about drivers around Anytown. She feels they don't look for her when she is crossing streets to get to and from work as well as running errands. Until recently, she wasn't quite sure what the traffic rules are for pedestrians. The pedestrian signal indications were a mystery to her, so she relied instead on her instincts alone to tell her when she could cross safely. As you might imagine, this resulted in some close calls. "I thought I might get hurt," she said, adding "I wish I learned this sooner."

Rosa is not alone. Many residents of the City of Anytown are unfamiliar with local traffic rules and behavior. Pedestrian traffic signals are a prime example-they have been in use for a long time, but are not well understood.

Not understanding the signals can have terrible consequences. Drivers may not see pedestrians crossing against the pedestrian signal in time to avoid them, and the resulting injuries and fatalities are a huge concern in our community.

Since Hispanics account for close to 16 percent of all of Anytown's pedestrian fatalities, but comprise only nine percent of Anytown's population, the Anytown Pedestrian Safety Campaign is sponsoring a Hispanic Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week. As part of their educational efforts, the Campaign is producing posters and designing billboards with safety awareness messages in Spanish and English. They are also assembling bilingual education teams to take the messages to local Hispanic businesses, community centers and churches.

City Manager Sharon Gomez is spearheading the Spanish-language information campaign. She reports that "many immigrants can't afford cars and try to walk here with disastrous results. We can't ignore this problem. We can't leave this danger unaddressed. We feel we have found a good way to begin to address this safety issue."

The Anytown Pedestrian Safety Coalition is currently conducting a campaign to remind drivers to look for pedestrians; and to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks and follow the pedestrians crossing signals.

More information about this and other safety issues is available in English and some in Spanish. To volunteer or obtain more information about Anytown's Pedestrian Safety Campaign and other associated events, please call (Campaign Coordinator's name here) at (phone number) or (email address).