Approximately three to four pedestrian/driver accidents occur on Stadium Way each semester, and this year is starting out no differently, said Nathan Hahn, traffic officer for the Washington State University Police Department.
On Sept. 1, a driver hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk at the intersection of Johnson and Stadium Way. The accident occurred when the driver drove past another vehicle that had stopped for the pedestrian, Hahn said. The pedestrian was transported to Pullman Memorial Hospital for scrapes, abrasions and soreness in his back.
“Too many people are in a rush to get around campus and they get impatient,” said Hahn. “There seem to be more cars on campus this year; therefore, everyone needs to take extra precautions.”
Hahn said if a car slows down or stops near a crosswalk, other drivers must be alert to slow down and stop, as well, in order to prevent accidents similar to the one on Sept. 1.
“Drivers must make every effort to avoid hitting a pedestrian,” he said. Besides the potential injury to the pedestrian, failing to yield at a crosswalk can result in a $101 fine to the driver.
However, this is not just a problem of irresponsible drivers. “Many pedestrians will walk into crosswalks without ever checking for oncoming cars,” Hahn said. “Oftentimes they are on their cell phones and unaware of their surroundings.”
Pedestrians also can face a $46 fine if they illegally enter a crosswalk when the walk sign is flashing or is solid red. Pedestrians not using a crosswalk must yield to vehicle traffic.
The crosswalks near the Gannon and Goldsworthy residence halls present an even greater risk, Hahn said. There are a lot of trees and bushes in the area, making it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians as they cross.
To prevent accidents in this area, Hahn advised people to use the overpass whenever possible.
“There are a lot of people on this campus,” Hahn said. “Everyone needs to do their part in staying aware of their surroundings and staying safe.”