Accident related fatalities up nationwide

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released some new data showing a four percent rise in pedestrian fatalities over the last year.

The thing that has experts scratching their head, is the fact that when it comes to road fatalities numbers have dropped, but are those numbers the same here in Amarillo?

While numbers are up nationwide, here in Texas things are a little different, pedestrian deaths in the lone star state have dropped over the last three years.

"Back in 2008 we had 436, in 2009 that dropped to 358 and it stayed the same in 2010, and what's really hard to figure out is what is causing these pedestrian deaths? Because there are so many different ways they can happen," said TxDOT Spokesman, Paul Braun.

Here in Amarillo, the type of accidents are about 50/50.

There were 13 accident-related fatalities this year and six of those were pedestrians.

According to the study, there are a number of factors that could have played a role in the numbers jumping, one of them, alcohol.

"We will see that again with our pedestrians and they have had a couple of drinks and decided to walk home, not paying attention where they're at and start crossing in the middle of the street. In a 40 mile per hour speed limit at two in the morning, that car isn't expecting a pedestrian to be right out in the middle of the road," said Amarillo Police Department Corporal Jerry Neufeld.

Another factor, climbing speed limits, but here in Amarillo, that was only true for two of the fatalities.

"The majority of ours are going to be in town, sometimes on residential streets, sometimes maybe a major road, but it's still not going to be a 60 or 70 mile per hour speed limit."

However, if you are going to be out walking late at night...

"Be very careful if you are going to be a pedestrian out walking, make sure you're crossing at a cross walk or watch for other traffic, don't assume they other traffic is going to see you. Depending on what you're wearing, if you're wearing darker clothing it just makes it that much more difficult."

Neufeld also added, try not to be the pedestrian who has been drinking walking home, because that can be just as dangerous when your depth perception is distorted.