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State resources needed to limit car accidents with pedestrians

What does a municipality in West Virginia or elsewhere do when a heavily traveled roadway is also used by pedestrians who must cross it to get to and back from work? For starters, the government may want to construct sidewalks and crosswalks to give pedestrians a safer route than they now possess. Car accidents involving pedestrians cannot be contained without basic traffic controls and other measures necessary for the safe flow of pedestrian traffic.

The issue is fresh in the minds of many in South Charleston due to the death of a female pedestrian who was trying to cross Corridor G near the Moses Automotive Factory Outlet. South Charleston police are trying to reconstruct the accident, including an attempt to identify the deceased woman. The driver apparently did report the accident, but police said that no charges would be filed.

The accident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25. A spokesperson for the Division of Highways gave the explanation that safety measures at the site are "not at all feasible."  With a speed limit of 55 mph, pedestrians take their lives in their hands trying to maneuver the roadway. Unfortunately, many residents in the area need to cross the street in order to get to and from work.  

Rather than constructing the necessary protections, the state spokesperson indicated that pedestrians and bicycle riders should avoid the road and thus prevent potential car accidents. Some of the residents, however, have no other means of transportation. As for the deceased woman, her estate will possibly have a wrongful death civil damages claim against the driver for negligence, depending on how the accident occurred. The estate may also have a claim against the West Virginia Department of Highways and/or the local municipality for failing to install even rudimentary traffic controls to facilitate safer pedestrian crossings in the area.  

Source: wsaz.com, "UPDATE: Police still working to identify woman hit, killed in South Charleston", Jatara McGee, Jan. 26, 2017

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