The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a saying: “Everyone is a pedestrian.” And it’s true. Not all people are drivers, but all people are at one time or another pedestrians. So it would only seem to make sense that the concerns of pedestrians are universally known and appropriately addressed by pedestrians who double as motorists. Yet, more than 4,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes each year. Nearly 70,000 more are injured. Alarmingly, 11,000 of those pedestrians injured are children under the age of 15. From these statistics, it is clear that we need to raise awareness surrounding the dangers of pedestrian motor vehicle crashes.
Six-year-old Uziel Barrera Alejandri was hit and killed in a fatal crash right outside his family’s home in Mabton, Washington. According to police, the boy ran out into the street just as 23-year-old Denise Mariscal’s truck was driving by. Mariscal’s family spoke to KIMA TV News, and explained that Mariscal did not see the small boy dart into the street. The family told reporters that they were deeply sorry for the accident, but reiterated that it was an accident—albeit a tragic one. Police say they are not going to rush to judgment one way or another, and plan to take a few days before deciding whether or not charges or citations are appropriate.
According to neighbors, this is not the first accident of its kind. The Mabton community in Washington is a small community with a lot of children. Still, the streets, according to some, lack adequate signage warning drivers that children may be playing in the area. Some neighbors think more stop signs or speed bumps might be necessary to get drivers’ attention. In 2012, another toddler was hit and killed just blocks away from where Uziel Barrera Alejandri lived. Police say they plan to increase patrol, and hope that this will be enough to prevent more fatal accidents like this in the future.