Fatal crashes involving cars and pedestrians on the rise in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- A recent climb in auto-pedestrian accidents has police on edge.

Tuesday, a 10-year old girl was hit in Midvale. She’s recovering, but two other children were not so lucky just a couple weeks earlier.

Those incidents are cause for concern among state officials and parents in Utah.

“We see more pedestrian related crashes around sunrise and sunset,” said Scott Jones, a safety programs engineer for Zero Fatalities.

According to new research from the Utah Department of Transportation, 36 percent of auto-pedestrian accidents occur in the twilight hours.

Those hours also happen to be the time when people are driving to and from work, and children are going to and from school.

“In the winter months, between 4 and 6 p.m., we have double the number of pedestrian-related crashes than other times of the year,” Jones said.

Utah has already seen that uptick in crashes this fall.

On November 3, a 13-year-old's brush with death in Millcreek came days after another 13-year-old was hit and killed by a car in Herriman.

Anise Perry Drisdom said her son was a bright boy.

“He really cared and loved others, that was his main focus point, was making sure others were OK,” she said. “If he could put a smile on their face, if he could make them laugh.”

Just days before the crash that took Perry-Drisdom’s son’s life, a car backed over and killed a 1-year-old in West Valley City.

Those tragedies take the state up to 30 fatal auto pedestrian accidents this year. Fortunately, the 10-year-old girl who was hit in Midvale this Tuesday was not a part of that statistic.

She was in a crosswalk with her cousin when it happened and is still recovering.

“They cannot be seen,” Jones said. “They’re not as visible by drivers, and just because it’s light out doesn’t mean a driver can see them on the side of the road.”

UDOT says as drivers commute during the sunrise and sunset hours, they should always be on the lookout for pedestrians.

“One area that we’ve seen an alarming number of pedestrians hit is on our freeways and interstates,” Jones said. “These are areas where drivers don’t expect to see a pedestrian.”