Pedestrians hit by cars on the rise

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Three pedestrians in the Omaha metro were hit in as little as a week. The latest accident turned deadly for a 79-year-old man. Investigators said Carl Schneider was crossing the road at 34th and L when a truck crested the hill and hit him. Neither alcohol nor speed are believed to be factors in the crash, investigators say.

It’s a nationwide problem that’s now growing in the metro.

"I don't think anyone would agree that any fatality is acceptable,” said Sarah Johnson with Mode Shift Omaha.

Within the last week, there were three separate incidents of drivers hitting pedestrians. The first in Council Bluffs and two just Thursday morning alone.

"Life is really important. We need to pay attention to everything that we're doing whether it's distracted driving, whether it's texting, whether it's walking,” said Vice President for the National Safety Council Susan Booth.

Booth said since Omaha is trying to become a more pedestrian friendly city these numbers will likely increase.

"The more time that you spend outside, the more of an issue it is,” she said.

But the city is taking action and partnering with Mode Shift Omaha to create a dialogue and change the way we all approach roadways in an initiative called Vision Zero.

"There's little steps that we can all take to make our roads safer whether it's putting down your cell phone while driving - please - or if you've had too many drinks, call a friend, call an Uber,” said Vice Chair at Mode Shift Omaha Sarah Johnson.

Here are a few tips from NHTSA and NSC for children and adults of all ages:
• Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
• Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
• Be aware of drivers even when you're in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
• Don't wear headphones while walking
• Never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking
• If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
• Never rely on a car to stop
• Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
• Only cross at designated crosswalks
• Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
• Walk in groups

"Nobody thinks it'll happen to them, but there's a reality that it will. We all really need to be diligent about what's going on in our surroundings and paying attention,” said Booth.

As always, booth recommends putting your phone away while driving.